Congratulations to Baidu for developing the first fully autonomous car of China, a sleek customized BMW painted red and white like a timely Christmas treat. The project began in 2013 and Baidu plans to map out the majority of China’s roads within 5 to 10 years.
“The road tests were carried out under complex road conditions, and the Baidu vehicle; a modified BMW 3 Series; completed the tests by executing a comprehensive set of driving actions and accurately responding to the driving environment,” the company said.
The car’s speed peaks at 100 km per hour. The test proved its capability to make right, left and U-turns, to detect vehicles ahead and decelerate when necessary, change lanes, pass other cars, merge into traffic from on-ramps and exit from off-ramps.
No word yet on how the vehicle handles heavy smog, supernatural steel cables, and spontaneously combusting chickens on the road. However, if it can deal with Beijing traffic, none of those should be much of a problem.
Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted to Twitter calling for “hardcore tech engineers” to aid him in developing autonomy in his line of electric cars. Meanwhile, Google and Apple continue on their quest to perfect their own self-driving cars. Baidu is a true contender for being the first to fully develop a self-driving car. Earlier this year, a Chinese auto company tested out the world’s first self-driving bus.
Alas, there is hope China’s worst drivers won’t be behind the wheel any longer, and we can all feel safer about our children not getting mowed over.
Come on, Baidu, let’s help put an end to these racial stereotypes about drivers in China.
By Mary DeMay
[Images via Xinhua]