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BMW, Baidu Partner to Build Autonomous Cars, May Beat Google to Market

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/16/2015 Megan Stewart
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Chinese technology firm Baidu -- referred to by many as China's Google -- has partnered with BMW to be the first team to get self-driving cars out on public roads. As of right now, the team plans to release their version of an autonomous vehicle in China by the end of 2015. Google, on the other hand, is still a ways off from presenting a vehicle.

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Previously, Google had modified Lexus SUVs and Toyota hybrid cars for their testing purposes before showing off its new fleet of prototypes that have been built from the ground up to replace the need for human control with artificial intelligence. However, a version with a human driver will soon be testing on our roads.

For Baidu and BMW, the need for a driver will not be eliminated, and instead, the technology is supposed to aid the driver, rather than replace them. And while the technology itself may be ready for implementation, the legislation that many of the self-driving cars are coming up against proves to be the biggest hurdle.

So far, only a handful of states have given testers the green light to use public roads, but that number will likely increase in the coming years. The Baidu/BMW team may have an advantage over Google and others trying to produce a self-driving car like Tesla, as the Chinese government has the power to rapidly mandate certain changes that would let them release their vehicles.

Source: The Guardian

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