As the recent fatal crash involving a self-driving car in Tempe, Arizona has started a debate about the pace at which autonomous vehicles have been allowed on public roads for tests, China has reiterated its support of homegrown autonomous technology by allowing local search giant Baidu to test self-driving cars in the country. Baidu is the dominant online search engine in China, it’s often referred to as the country’s Google.
Reuters reports that Baidu has now received approval from China and it can now start testing its self-driving cars. Baidu will now be able to put its autonomous cars on public roads in Beijing to test its technology.
The permit that it has been awarded allows the company to test its self-driving cars on 33 public roads that cover an area of around 65 miles in the less-populated suburbs of Beijing.
“With supportive policies, we believe that Beijing will become a rising hub for the autonomous driving industry,” said Baidu VP Zhao Cheng in a statement.
Baidu is far from the only Chinese company working on autonomous driving technology but it’s certainly the nation’s leader in this space. The company even launched a new platform in 2017 which aims to enable car manufacturers to make self-driving cars faster.
Baidu is hopeful that it will be able to put self-driving cars on roads in China by next year.