The popular Chinese-American web services company Baidu Inc recently announced the launch of its self-driving car technology for limited environment in July before introducing entirely autonomous driving capabilities on highways and open city roads by 2020. Named as Apollo after the lunar landing program, the project would work with partners who provide vehicles, sensors and other mechanism for the new technology. As a division of its push into artificial intelligence (AI), the company in January named former Microsoft Corp executive Qi Lu as chief operating officer.
Nearly after two months after the appointment, Baidu’s chief scientist Andrew Ng, who led AI and augmented reality (AR) projects, said he would step down. The company also launched a $200 million fund in October to focus on AI, AR and deep learning, followed by a $3 billion fund announced in September to target mid- and late- stage start-ups. “AI has great potential to drive social development, and one of AI’s biggest opportunities is intelligent vehicles,” Qi said in a statement.
Baidu and German automaker BMW AG in the month of November said that they would finish up their combined research on self-driving cars due to disparity in view on how to ensue. However, the technology and automotive leaders contend that the future cars will be proficient of completely lashing themselves, transforming the transportation industry, with nearly all carmakers as well as companies such as Alphabet’s Google and parts supplier Delphi investing heavily in developing the technology.