Google isn’t the only internet search giant that’s working on self-driving cars. China’s Baidu – often referred to as the Google of China – is also developing self-driving cars. The company has now started testing its autonomous cars on public roads in the People’s Republic. It’s running public tests with actual passengers on board. The tests have already transported more than 200 people in a 2 mile stretch of road located in the tourist destination of Wuzhen. The company says that this road has been “mapped with centimetre accuracy.”
Baidu’s self-driving cars are fitted with millimeter wave radar, Velodyne LiDAR, several video cameras as well as a powerful computer that’s capable of processing all of that data.
The car is capable of driving itself, negotiating intersections, switching lanes, passing slower cars and even making U-turns. It can drive itself up to a maximum speed of 37 miles per hour which is the speed limit in that area.
As with all public tests of self-driving cars, a human driver is present behind the wheel at all times should something go wrong, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily will. There’s also a display inside the car which shows passengers information about traffic and objects along the way as they take a ride in a car that can drive all by itself.
Baidu is shooting for the first commercial self-driving cars powered by its technology to hit the roads in China by 2018. It wants to achieve mass production by 2021.