Baidu announces autonomous software and minibus partnership with King Long

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At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, January 10, Chinese tech company Baidu announced an update to its Apollo autonomous driving software and revealed that the software will be used in mass-market vehicles that will start production this year, Business Insider reported.

Baidu has claimed that the software update, called Apollo 2.0, will allow vehicles to drive autonomously in ‘simple urban road conditions.’ According to Jingao Wang, Baidu’s Senior Director of Autonomous Driving, vehicles using the software will be able to navigate intersections, change lanes, obey traffic rules, see obstacles up to 300 feet away, and identify traffic lights from up to 500 feet away with 99% accuracy.

The company also revealed partnerships with Chinese auto companies to power a minibus and mass-market vehicles. The minibus, which is manufactured by King Long, is expected to begin production in 2018. Consumer vehicles made by JAC Motors and BAIC Motor will begin production in 2019, with Chery set to begin production in 2020.

Baidu, which began as a search engine, has been making significant investments in autonomous-driving technology to compete with American companies like Tesla and Waymo.