HEADLINE Mass production of driverless mini-buses to be initiated in 2018: CEO of Baidu


Mass production of driverless mini-buses to be initiated in 2018: CEO of Baidu

By Qiao Wai | People's Daily app

09:51, March 15, 2018


The picture shows Li Yanhong, chairman and CEO of Baidu Inc, attended "passage interview" on Thursday moring. (Photo: People's Daily Online)

Members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) gave interviews in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday morning, during which, Li Yanhong, chairman and CEO of Baidu Inc., expressed his outlook on driverless vehicles. 

An anticipated time of eight to 10 years before driverless vehicles can go to mass production was made by Miao Wei, minister of Industry and Information Technology of China, in an interview during the two sessions. While Li appears to be more optimistic with a type of driverless mini-bus, without a steering wheel or driver seat, will be mass produced on a small scale in 2018. Baidu will also seek cooperation with mainstream automobile companies to develop sedans for family use in 2019, according to Li.

Great concern was raised when Li road-tested Baidu's driverless vehicle prototype on Beijing's open roads in 2017. Li explained that testing driverless vehicles will be conducted step by step from a relatively restricted field, for instance, in a park or on a ferry, and gradually move to the open road. "Driverless vehicles that are able to completely replace drivers will be developed in three to five years," said Li.

"The automobile industry, with nearly 100 years of history, has never faced the challenges it is facing now with driverless technology and AI," said Li.

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