Baidu Takes To The Road In A Self-Driving BMW

Baidu said Thursday that its autonomous car has successfully completed a road test in various weather conditions, which puts China's top search engine in the realm of other search and tech companies making the push into augmenting the automotive industry with technology.

The modified BMW 3 Series had executed driving actions including turning right and left, U-turns, decelerating while detecting vehicles ahead, changing lanes, passing other cars and merging into traffic from ramps, according to the company. It has cameras, sensors, and radar to maneuver the streets. The car drove 18.6 miles around the capital city of Beijing, side streets and highways.

Baidu and BMW promised earlier this year to introduce a self-driving car by the end of 2015.

Similar to Google, Baidu has made a big push into in artificial intelligence (AI), mapping and cars in recent years. Last year Baidu hired Google's former AI chief Andrew Ng to head its AI center in Silicon Valley. AutoBrain is the software behind its driverless cars, complete with mapping, positioning, detection and decision making features.

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Google's fleet of self-driving cars has completed more than 2 million miles -- although not all without incident -- of autonomous and manual driving on private and public roads combined in six years of the project.

The completion of these tests for Baidu allow it to join the ranks of several technology companies looking to establish themselves as leaders in the space along with other tech companies like Samsung.

On Wednesday, Samsung announced that it would establishing a new business group to research driverless technologies. The division will focus on components rather than building an entire car.

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