Baidu has joined the ranks of several companies that have been granted an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
Baidu, a Chinese internet giant sometimes compared to Google, has established Baidu USA with plans to play a role in the future of self-driving cars in the U.S. The DMV reports that Baidu USA is one of 15 companies that, as of August 29, have been granted testing permits.
That DMV list includes automakers Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Nissan, BMW, Honda, Ford, and Faraday Future. Technology suppliers include Google, Delphi Automotive, Bosch, GM Cruise, Zoox, and Drive.ai.
Baidu announced its U.S. autonomous driving research project in the U.S. earlier this year. The company’s goal is to establish a 100-person research team based in Silicon Valley.
Baidu recently committed to invest $150 million with Ford in Velodyne, a supplier of LiDAR components used in self-driving car systems. The Baidu and Ford investment was designed to help bring down the cost of LiDAR components for a production-level launch of self-driving cars when they come to market. In late August, Mobileye and Delphi Automotive announced a joint venture to create a more-affordable technology for self-driving cars by the end of the decade. Their technology will rely less on costly LiDAR sensors, according to a Bloomberg report.
Baidu will “start testing… autonomous driving technologies on public roads very soon in California,” according to a statement by Baidu SVP Jing Wang.
Baidu will follow the same testing requirements as other companies are using when testing autonomous vehicles in California. Test vehicles must have a drivers and driving controls present during test runs.