Baidu, often called the "Google of China," recently announced that it will begin its driverless car testing at its Silicon Valley center. Ultimately, Baidu foresees having a commercially viable autonomous car on the road by 2018.
As some motor companies tackle difficult issues, such as self-driving in inclement weather conditions, Baidu and BMW teamed up to release a modified BMW 3 late last year that demonstrated no issues in these conditions.
See the test drive in the video below:
What boosts Baidu's efforts is that its autonomous vehicles contain driving maps that are super accurate in determining vehicle positioning. This technology enables the car to detect other vehicles on the road, but one of Baidu's chief scientists, Andrew Ng, has further plans (and reservations).
Ng recommends a mobile app that allows humans to communicate directly with autonomous vehicles in the case of road closures or construction. Thus, allowing the cars to avoid them. But he feels that the future of autonomous cars is still a ways off. "Maybe in the distant future, we could make it drive like a human driver, but not in two years," Mr. Ng says.
Time will tell.