Baidu has been making significant investments in autonomous-driving technology to compete with American companies like Tesla and Waymo.
At CES in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Chinese tech company Baidu announced an update to its Apollo autonomous driving software and revealed that the software will be used in mass-market vehicles that will start production this year.
The software update, Apollo 2.0, will allow vehicles to drive autonomously in "simple urban road conditions." Vehicles using the software will be able to navigate intersections, change lanes, obey traffic rules, see obstacles up to 300 feet away, and identify traffic lights from up to 500 feet way with 99% accuracy, according to Jingao Wang, Baidu's senior director of autonomous driving.
The company also revealed partnerships with Chinese auto companies to power a mini bus and mass-market vehicles. The mini bus, made by King Long, will begin production in 2018. Consumer vehicles made by JAC Motors and BAIC Motor will begin production in 2019, with Chery set to begin production in 2020.
Baidu began as a search engine and could be described as China's version of Google. The company has been making significant investments in autonomous-driving technology to compete with American companies like Tesla and Waymo.