Chinese tech-giant Baidu wants to beat Google to the market for a self-driving car. Its new autonomous vehicle–created in partnership with BMW–will be released by the end of 2015, according to the Guardian.
In a surprise announcement at a cloud computing conference, Baidu senior vice president Wang Jin said the companies would begin to test a self-driving car in China by the end of the year. The Guardian adds that the prototype will “test road-readiness of Baidu’s technology, which will involve the car driving itself, but still have human controls.”
BMW entered into a partnership with Baidu in late 2014 and began testing self-driving car tech in Beijing and Shanghai. While BMW is handling the automotive side of things, Baidu–one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2015 for its artificial intelligence, image comprehension, and voice recognition research–has aggressively invested in deep learning and mapping technologies over the past few years. Baidu’s expertise in both areas could give the automaker an edge in the potentially massive Chinese market for self-driving cars.