(Yicai Global) Oct. 18 -- Baidu Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU] and Xiamen King Long Motor Group Co. [SHA:600868] have signed a strategic agreement to trial commercial driverless buses next year and begin small-scale mass production, marking the first time such a product has been mass-produced in China.
The bus, known as the second-generation King Long driverless community bus, can operate with full autonomy under certain conditions, and will mainly be used to solve last-mile problems faced by public transport services, Sina Tech quoted the two firms as saying.
As well as offering up its autonomous driving solutions, Baidu's driverless vehicle platform, Apollo, has been involved in the interior and exterior design of the bus, the driver-vehicle interaction system and forming the required conditions for autonomy.
"Autonomous driving technology will be commercialized and applied for vehicles first," said Lu Qi, Baidu's vice chairman and chief operations officer. "Using our respective advantages in artificial intelligence and vehicle manufacturing, the partnership between Apollo and King Long will create enormous commercial value, solve long-standing traffic issues in China and facilitate an upgrade of the auto industry. Apollo will help Chinese carmakers achieve rapid growth over the next few years."