The Wall Street Journal: Baidu aims to launch self-driving bus in China next year

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — Chinese search giant Baidu Inc. is pushing aggressively ahead with autonomous vehicles, its chief executive said, including plans to release a fully self-driving bus in China next year.

Baidu BIDU, -0.92%   is betting it can be a major player in self-driving vehicles with its open-source autonomous-vehicle software called Apollo that it unveiled this year, Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Li said at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ D.Live technology conference Tuesday. Li said Baidu is joining with Chinese car maker BAIC Motor Corp. 1958, -0.84%   to mass produce partially autonomous cars running Apollo by 2019, and fully autonomous cars by 2021.

But first, Baidu aims to complete a fully self-driving bus — running on a designated route — with a Chinese bus maker by next year.

Baidu is hoping its open-source software is more appealing to car makers wary of joining with Waymo, the driverless-car unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOG, +0.02% GOOGL, +0.16%  . Li said he pitches car makers that Apollo will give them more control of their data and user experience than a closed system like Waymo’s. “You have much better control over your destiny,” he said.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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