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Baidu sets up business unit for autonomous driving technologies

BEIJING – China’s largest online search company Baidu Inc. announced establishment of a business unit for autonomous driving technologies in Beijing on December 14.

This comes only several days after it announced the successful completion of “rigorous, fully-automated tests” of self-driving technology implanted within a modified BMW 3-Series car.

The company said it plans to put self-driving vehicles on the road in three years and mass produce them within five years.

Baidu senior vice president Wang Jin will lead the new unit as general manager. Wang predicts that 80 percent of newly built vehicles will be autonomous driving vehicles in 10 years.

Self-driving cars have emerged as a new battlefront for technology firms globally. Chinese Internet giant Alibaba Group Holding said that it will launch its first car in partnership with China’s automaker SAIC, while U.S. tech heavyweights Google and Apple are also developing autonomous cars.

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