Chinese online search giant Baidu Inc (ADR) is working to build its own self-driving cars. President Zhang Yaqin on Monday said that the Chinese search engine giant plans to start mass-production of driverless vehicles in five years. It seems that the search giant wants to give a tough time to Western companies including Tesla Motors in the Chinese self-driving car market.
Zhang told Xinhua news agency that Baidu will test tests its driverless cars in 10 Chinese cities. He further said that the Baidu car brain — the core technology of the company’s self-driving cars — includes high-precision electronic mapping, positioning, sensing and decision-making and control systems.
Baidu has already tested automatic driving in mixed road conditions. Now the firm is looking to conduct more road tests in various weather, road and traffic conditions in ten cities in China, according to Zhang.
Baidu Self-Driving Car Project
China’s largest search engine launched its autonomous car project in 2013. The company is also planning to form partnerships with ride-sharing companies. The company has already invested in Uber to support the ride-sharing firm’s effort to push into China. The search company clearly do not want to be left behind in the self-driving cars race as players like Uber, Google and Apple (not officially known) are aggressively building self-driving cars and technology.
Earlier, Baidu Senior Vice President Wang Jing said that the company wants to launch its self-driving cars in multiple countries at once. In December, Baidu said that its self-driving car had “successfully completed rigorous, fully autonomous tests… under a variety of environmental conditions” in China. The company expressed intentions to test-drive the cars on the U.S. roads.
Two months ago, Baidu Inc (ADR) announced that it formed a self-driving car team in Silicon Valley to focus on research, development and testing. The team, part of the company’s Autonomous Driving Unit (ADU), will include machine learning researchers as well as hardware and software engineers. The company plans to grow the team to over 100 members by the end of the year.
“Baidu is fully committed to making self-driving cars a reality,” Wang said in a statement. “Autonomous vehicles will save lives and make transportation more efficient. Silicon Valley car team will play a significant role in building the car of the future.”
The Silicon Valley team, known as ADU-US, will focus on planning, perception, control and systems. They will work alongside the firm’s existing Silicon Valley-based teams, including Baidu Research.
Second-Quarter 2016 Revenue Guidance
On June 13, the Chinese search engine giant announced revised revenue guidance for the second quarter of 2016. The company currently expects revenue to be in the range of $2.81-$2.82 billion, compared to the previous range of $3.12-$3.19 billion.
For the first quarter of 2016, the company reported total revenues of $2.45 billion, a 31.2% year-over-year increase. Mobile revenue represented 60% of total revenues for the first quarter. The company posted first-quarter 2016 income of $308.1 million, up 18.9% compared to the same quarter in 2015.
Shares of Baidu Inc (ADR) have lost more than 15% during the last three months and over 18% year-to-date. The company has a market cap of nearly $53 billion.