Will Baidu’s Self-Driving Vehicle Efforts Bear Fruit?

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Amongst the many companies currently pursuing self-driving (or autonomous vehicle) technology is the Chinese tech giant Baidu. Essentially, Baidu is the Chinese version of Google. The company is currently testing its technology in a number of places, including California.

In addition, the company is pursuing its related plans involving a self-driving, all-electric Chery EQ, which costs only ~$9,000, possesses a range of ~120 miles per full charge, and could be used for wide-scale fleet deployment of the firm’s self-driving vehicle tech.

How likely are all of these plans to bear fruit? Will the company actually launch self-driving vehicle services in 10 cities in China within only 3 years, as it claims?

Does this matter?

Going by the graph posted just below I would say that it’s obvious that it does. The opportunity for growth over the coming years is substantial. There are real opportunities for outside firms to come in and establish significant market share.

On that subject, a recent article posted on Seeking Alpha noted that the “revenue opportunity for self-driving electric cars in China is almost double the revenue generated by Baidu in the past year, so it is making aggressive moves in this market.”

In other words, if the company wants to expand further, which it clearly does, then the self-driving tech/vehicle market just seems to be sitting there, entirely unguarded. Why not take it?

Baidu’s actions to date seem to be sensible ones (as evidenced here), and the likelihood that regulations will prevent foreign firms from gaining dominant market share in China means that there’s not too much competition there. So, what would the company actually have to do to blow this? Is it nearly inevitable now that Baidu will capture most of the self-driving market in China?

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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