The Chinese search engine giant, Baidu Inc is reportedly considering building its own electric vehicle. This is called the latest step in developing a smart car by the company dubbed Google China.
One of the sources who knows the plan said this Google China was opening initial talks with automakers such as Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd and China FAW Group Corp Ltd’s Hongqi to explore the possibility of forming a joint venture.
Launching Reuters on Tuesday (15/12/2020), Baidu declined to comment. GAC said it has a strategic partnership with Baidu and further cooperation will be discussed. Geely admitted that he did not understand the problem. FAW did not respond to a request for comment.
Baidu rivals Tencent
This independent electric car manufacturing initiative will put Baidu on a par with Tencent Holding, Amazon.com and Alphabet Inc, which have developed car technology or invested in smart car startups.
Baidu founded the Apollo autonomous drive unit in 2017. It supplies artificial intelligence (AI) powered technology and works with automakers such as Geely, Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp and Ford Motor Co.
Baidu operates the Go Robotaxi autonomous taxi service in Beijing, Changsha and Cangzhou, and plans to expand this service to 30 cities in three years. Last week, Baidu obtained approval to test five autonomous cars in Beijing.
The talks come after Didi Chuxing last month launched a custom-made van for ride-hailing services with carmaker BYD Co Ltd. Meanwhile, technology giant Sony Corp. in January launched an electric concept car with a self-driving function.