Baidu launches China’s first driverless taxi service

China’s first driverless taxi service launched by Baidu

Chinese Baidu may be better known as Google of China, but the company also plans to invest heavily in self-driving cars.

With more than 100 employees working on self-driving automobiles by the end of 2016, the company plans to expand its research and development team around smart cars. The ADU (Autonomous Driving Unit) will include researchers and engineers.

According to a press release, Baidu is fully committed to making self-driving cars a reality. Thanks to autonomous vehicles, transport will be more efficient and lives will be saved. An important part of the future of car manufacturing will be played by the Baidu team in Silicon Valley.

However, the move is not entirely unexpected. The Chinese company said it conducted self-driving tests of its self-driving car in December under various conditions. Autonomous buses will also be deployed within three years. The company announced in March that it would test cars on US roads.

Self-driving car technology is being explored by many technologies and automakers, including Baidu. Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Vauxhall are among GM’s classic car brands, along with Lyft and self-driving car projects. As part of the deal, GM is acquiring Cruise Automation, a startup developing self-driving cars. This deal would have been worth $1 billion.

Uber has already made a big investment in companies as part of its breakthrough in China, building on a strategic partnership between the two companies. With Uber and Google developing self-driving cars, as well as Apple developing a self-driving car, it’s clear it won’t be left behind.

He will work alongside Baidu Research, which has robotics, computer vision and sensor experts in the Valley.

Among Chinese megacities, Baidu’s self-driving taxis will operate without a human assistant, a first for the country.

A regulator has approved Baidu’s Apollo Go self-driving transport service to operate in Chongqing and Wuhan during the day, the Chinese search engine company said. There are about 30 million people in each city and 11 million people in the other.

China’s comfort with new technology could change with Baidu’s decision. Baidu requires human security operators to be present in its robotaxis in other cities where they operate, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Vice President and Director of Security Operations of Baidu’s Smart Driving Group, Wei Dong, said Monday, “We have finally arrived at the time the industry has been waiting for. This permit is a crucial step towards the day when fully autonomous driving services can finally be deployed on a large scale for the industry.

Baidu will be able to offer fully autonomous robotaxi services between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. local time in Wuhan and Chongqing. The number of robotaxis operating in each city will initially be limited to five.

The United States still lacks robotaxi offerings, and ride-sharing giants like Uber and Lyft have abandoned efforts to build self-driving taxis. A driverless ride-hailing service backed by General Motors began charging fares in San Francisco in June. A minor personal injury accident involving a Cruise self-driving vehicle was reported by Reuters in July.

Currently, Alphabet’s parent company, Google, operates Waymo One, a self-driving ride service.

baidu will run a motorless robotaxi on chinese streets - clean future

A new version of the Metaverse has been launched by Chinese tech giant Baidu

A Chinese search engine called Baidu announced last year that it planned to launch its own metaverse. It takes the company more than six years to launch the product after development began in 2020.

In Mandarin, XiRang means “Land of Hope” in the internet giant’s self-proclaimed metaverse app.

User avatars can be personalized and allow them to interact with each other in a shared online space. The Shaolin Chinese Temple is a virtual attraction. Chinese developers are the only ones who can access the platform, which currently supports 100,000 users.

As part of its annual developer conference, Baidu held a metaphysical conference at XiRang on December 27.

The company’s vice president, Ma Jie, said plans for the metaverse are still in their infancy of development.

During a preview of the three-day virtual event, a reporter asked about the timeline for the project. Jie said, “That’s a good question, but maybe I don’t have a great answer.”

Jie plans to offer digital infrastructure for the metaverse as an open-source platform.

In October, Baidu filed a trademark application titled “metaapp” indicating that the company planned to enter the metaverse. Several major tech companies have filed trademark applications related to the Metaverse. According to the South China Morning Post, $8,534 in metaverse-related trademark applications were filed by 1,360 Chinese companies.

Chinese people are already very interested in virtual worlds and spend a lot of time online, said Xiaofeng Zeng, vice president of Niko Partners.

“Chinese people spend a lot of time online watching TV, playing games, chatting, shopping and learning,” said an executive at a games research firm focused on Asian markets. . Meta concept scenes already exist on the market. In the context of the metaverse, it’s here if it’s a virtual world in the real world, but if it’s a real virtual world, it will take longer.

Chinese tech giant Baidu is launching its own version of the Metaverse;  here's how - blockworks

According to League of Ancients Project Manager Dwayne Ong, one of the key signals of mainstream adoption is companies announcing metaverse plans. According to Ong, companies operating in a decentralized industry may run the risk of making a quick buck rather than decentralizing.

There’s no way to stop the ball now. Despite the slow progress of big brands, Ong told Blockworks this is just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s safe to say that there are already ten major brands working on their metaverse campaigns, and there are another 100 planning theirs. Soon there will be a rush of metaverse projects,” Ong predicted.

Regulatory barriers remain

The company’s metaverse projects could be hampered by China’s increasingly stringent regulatory environment for digital assets.

As a precaution, after China renewed its ban on cryptocurrencies in September, Baidu executives denied that its metaverse would support cryptocurrencies.

Jie said in a statement to Blockworks that Xirang will incorporate blockchain-like technology, but not cryptocurrency transactions.

baidu gears up for imminent launch of metaverse app - Xinhua

Additionally, a state-run think tank warned in November of the political security risks posed by the metaverse.

A company report said the virtual world was a national security risk because of its “development patterns”.

Hong Kong shares rose 1% on January 4, 2022, at $145.

edited and proofread by nikita sharma