Baidu Wants to Release Autonomous Buses in China Next Year

Chinese search company Baidu plans to release an autonomous bus in its home country next year, CEO Robin Li said in an interview at D.Live conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal. The bus will run on a predetermined route and Baidu is working with other Chinese companies to realize the vision of the autonomous bus. Li said, Baidu is very serious in developing autonomous cars.

Last week, Baidu announced plans to produce L3 autonomous cars en masse in 2019. The L3 car is an autonomous car still needs human help. Meanwhile, they plan to produce L4, a fully autonomous car, by 2021.

For that Baidu has been working with China's car manufacturer, BAIC Motor Corp. These cars will use Apollo, an open-source autonomous car software developed with the help of NVIDIA. "We only developed software parts," Li said.
Asked if Apollo would be able to compete with Waymo, Google's autonomous car division, Li is optimistic that Apollo's open-source approach will eventually win.

"History has proved that open systems have a better momentum," he said. "We have more signals - we know the demand from the real market - it gives us the advantage of coming forward."
Li also assumes, autonomous cars in the future will be equipped with screens and entertainment that is embedded directly on the car. "Our shadow, when a passenger gets in the car, he no longer has to touch his cell phone."