One of the biggest search engine providers in Asia, Baidu, has come under investigation. Beijing Traffic Police aims to find out if the company broke any laws when its CEO let a driverless car loose for a test drive on a public road.
Some say Baidu is an answer to Alphabet’s Google and has taken strong initiative in developing driverless cars in China. The company has claimed an alliance for self-driving cars and is planning to roll out these vehicles by 2019.
However, there is a possibility that Baidu may face charges and sanctions from local authorities after police finish their investigation to find out if there is any illegality in having a driverless car on public roads.
In a statement issued by Beijing Police, they said they are not against technology and innovation of self-driving, however they felt that these tests should be conducted legally with proper scientific procedures in place and with the public’s safety in mind. The police further added that if they found a violation of any law, strict punishment would be inflicted.
China has been trying to catch up in the field of artificial intelligence which has been a part of Beijing’s initiative to run the economy on high end technology and consumer driven sectors, instead of heavy engineering and low-cost manufacturing.
Baidu CEO Rohin Li performed a test by conducting a live video session with other participants at the Artificial Intelligence Conference, while sitting in one of his driverless car on one of Beijing’s roads. This incident triggered a discussion and people questioned whether Baidu had the necessary permission to perform the test. Robin Li or anyone of Baidu’s representatives declined to comment.
Anirudh M. for TechFunnel.com