Having a tech behemoth in your country certainly has its associated advantages. Baidu, one of China’s most forward looking companies, has introduced a brand new electric car, by modifying a previous iteration. The final result ladies and gentleman, is pretty good looking. Going under the name of Chery eQ, the automobile is Baidu’s very own, all-electric test vehicle.
The vehicle is somewhat similar to Google’s autonomous, EV electric vehicle. However, there are a couple of prominent differences. For one, the space inside the automobile. Despite being in the game for longer, Google appears to be laying most of its focus upon getting the driving right and, which may be why it hasn’t paid much attention to things like cabin room. Baidu’s Cherry eQ comes with a significant bit more cabin space than Google’s EV.
The company has planned these vehicles specifically for use in China. It is also planning to release them pan-country. This will enable it to improve and enhance their mapping technology while also letting them collect data about local traffic infrastructure. In case that is not so clear, its a just a car with no one in the driver’s seat! While it may be very easy for you to point out local features such as trees and potholes and buildings and bridges, autonomous cars can have difficulty navigating them unless they are made aware of it.
Bridges in particular pose a great difficulty. In absence of differentiating features like trees, buildings etc. cars find it difficult to move over them. Considering that Baidu is more interested in creating the software propelling the cars rather than the actual vehicles, it is easy to see why this kind of information can be important. The company is also testing vehicles in other locations, including the United States.
The company’s eventual aim is the same as almost every other tech company working upon creating autonomous vehicles. It is basically trying to get its technology to the point where it can improvise a working fleet of autonomous vehicles. Baidu is then planning to use them for a variety of purposes including public transportation.
The company hopes to partially achieve its aims and get its cars on road across certain locations by 2018, which considering the progress that has been made in the field, will be pretty impressive. Although several companies, including Uber — which is a company that Baidu has actually invested in — are already on the verge of reaching that milestone with their autonomous cars.