Baidu’s probably better known as the Google of China, but the Beijing-based Internet giant today revealed plans to invest in autonomous car technology from its base in Silicon Valley.
The company today revealed that it now has a team working on research and development (R&D) and testing around smart cars, and it plans to grow its self-driving automobile team more than 100 people throughout 2016, covering researchers and engineers, who will work as part of Baidu’s new Autonomous Driving Unit (ADU).
“Baidu is fully committed to making self-driving cars a reality,” said Jing Wang, senior vice president of Baidu and general manager of its new ADU arm, in a press release. “Autonomous vehicles will save lives and make transportation more efficient. Baidu’s Silicon Valley car team will play a significant role in building the car of the future.”
The move does not come as a complete surprise, however. Back in December, Baidu claimed its self-driving car had “successfully completed rigorous, fully autonomous tests… under a variety of environmental conditions,” in China. It also revealed plans to put self-driving buses on the roads within three years.