Chinese internet behemoth Baidu started public tests of its self-driving car fleet in Wuzhen. The Smurf-blue cars were manufactured by the Chinese car companies BYD, Chery and BAIC and are equipped with a series of sensors, including Lidars, cameras, and radars. The Lidars are from Palo Alto-based Velodyne, which recently closed a funding round from Ford and Baidu.
The vehicles drive along a three Kilometer long road in Wuzhen, which is a popular tourist destination half-way between Shanghai and Hangzhou. To prepare for the tests, the city had to be mapped first down to a centimeter.
Riders can order the cars, which has still an engineer in the driver seat to interfere in case of a malfunction and emergency. The cars drive up to speeds of 60 km/h, can pass slower cars, cross intersections, and change lanes. Similar to the Uber-tests in Pittsburgh, riders get information on a screen about the ride.
Baidu plans to offer the cars commercially in 2018. Since this year Baidu started testing autonomous vehicles in California, as we reported here.