It has appointed Qi Lu, a former executive at Microsoft Corp as its chief operating officer.
China’s Baidu Inc has disclosed it will be launching its self-driving car technology designed for a restricted environment later this year in July. It aims to follow up this launch by gradually introducing full autonomous driving capabilities by 2020.
Baidu has named this project as Apollo, after America’s lunar landing.
Baidu has stated it will work with its partners, who provide vehicle, sensors, and such components required for autonomous driving for the new technology.
As part of its push into artificial intelligence (AI), it has named Qi Lu, a former executive at Microsoft Corp as its chief operating officer.
In the wake of this appointment, within 2 months, Baidu’s chief scientist Andrew Ng, who had earlier led its augmented reality (AR) projects, stepped down.
Earlier last year in October, the Chinese company had also launched a $200 million fund aimed at funding AR, AI and deep learning projects. It has followed this investment by allocating another $3 billion which targets mid- and late-stage start-ups.
“AI has great potential to drive social development, and one of AI’s biggest opportunities is intelligent vehicles,” said Qi in a statement.
Incidentally, in November Germany’s BMW and Baidu had said through a joint statement that they would end their research on self-driving cars due to differences in opinion on how to proceed.