Eight tech companies in China’s capital city of Beijing have logged a total of 95,442.6 miles (153,600 kilometers) in their autonomous vehicle fleets in 2018, according to a recent report from the city’s transportation regulators. The company leading the charge, responsible for 91% of the self-driving mileage, is Baidu.
Baidu is China’s largest search engine, comparable in many ways to Google as an internet and tech company. And as CleanTechnica reported last year, the company was given permission by the Chinese government to begin testing self-driving vehicles on city streets in Beijing in early 2018. The company is notoriously eager to forge ahead with automation, as its slogan “All in AI” reflects, and in 2017 it launched an open source platform called Apollo. With this platform, Baidu hopes to share tools with developers, providing data, APIs, open source code, etc. to help them bring autonomous driving products to market. And if Baidu’s plan goes accordingly, the company expects to have a platform that can handle autonomous driving on highways and urban roads by the end of 2020.
With almost 140,000 kilometers under its belt in 2018, Baidu outpaced all seven other companies on Beijing’s roads and holds 91% of the total distance covered by automated vehicles recorded in this report. The other companies that tested their self-driving tech on the streets of Beijing are: NIO, BAIC BJEV, Daimler, Pony.ai, Tencent, Audi, and Didi Chuxing.
As Mashable reports, seven of the eight companies testing self-driving in Beijing are also doing so in California, where there are 62 companies on the roads. And the top dogs to watch out for? In Beijing it’s Baidu, and in Silicon Valley it’s Google’s Waymo. When you compare the two, Waymo’s mileage is significantly greater, as the company has reportedly logged more than 10 million autonomous miles, making Baidu’s 90,000 miles in Beijing seem quite small — though certainly nothing to sneeze at.
All in all, the world is in a frenzy to make autonomous driving a reality. With Ford announcing EV and autonomous plans, the German VDA investing $68 billion in electric and autonomous cars, and Volkswagen testing its own autonomous cars in Hamburg, we’re seeing more and more news on self-driving tech every day. It’s all we can do to keep up!