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Baidu to test driverless cars in Wuzhe

WUZHEN, Zhejiang – Baidu will test its Level-4 driverless cars in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, according to an agreement it signed with Wuzhen on July 3.

Wuzhen, an ancient town in southeast China known for holding the World Internet Conference last December, becomes the third place for autonomous driving test and will be the first tourist attraction with driverless cars.

Qiao Yueshan, deputy director of the Electronic Information Department under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said: “The agreement between Baidu and Wuzhen is a new form of cooperation between innovative IT industry and tourism industry based on the internet technology and the need of developing tourist projects.”

Wang Jin, senior vice president of Baidu and president of Baidu autonomous driving division, said: “The value of cars in the future will be determined by Software Defined Vehicle (SDV). Baidu and Wuzhen have both been the leader in our respective fields and our cooperation is a win-win one which is a perfect combination of science and culture.”

Li Zhenyu, vice president of Baidu autonomous driving division, said: “Baidu will actively cooperate with partners to realize the commercialization and mass production of driverless cars in China.”

However, problems remain to be solved in the mass production of driverless cars. First is cost. According to Wang, the price of laser radar of Baidu’s driverless cars was about ¥700,000 ($107,692) at the beginning, while it has declined to ¥500,000 now. Baidu will continue to cooperate with OEMs to reduce the cost to below $3,000 in the next few years.

Wang added that artificial intelligence of Baidu’s driverless cars still needs training. Baidu’s driverless cars in Wuzhen will pass the road test and the Level-4 complete autonomous driving technology will be further improved as well. Baidu will build an autonomous driving ecology with partners to advance the coming of autonomous driving age.

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