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Baidu's Big Day: A partnership with Nvidia, approval to test in California

Chinese self-driving cars are coming to a California highway near you, and the production version will have a little help from a tech giant.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
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Baidu HQ California
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Baidu HQ California

The head of Baidu's operations in the US is Andrew Ng, who helped create the Google Brain project.


Baidu is getting ready for a major push in its autonomous R&D. The Chinese tech company has already tested its autonomous vehicles in China, and now, it's going to take the next step toward releasing an autonomous vehicle, relying on a little help from Nvidia along the way.

Baidu recently received approval to test its self-driving tech in California, a major stepping-stone if it ever hopes to break into the US market.

"Baidu has already built a strong team in Silicon Valley to develop autonomous driving technologies, and being able to do road tests will greatly accelerate our progress," said Jing Wang, manager of Baidu's autonomous-vehicle arm, in a statement.

The company already established a headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, and it hopes to continue hiring researchers and engineers as it continues development.

At the same time, the company is hooking up with an established player in the electronics field. Baidu and Nvidia will work together to develop a computing platform for autonomous vehicles using artificial intelligence, Fortune reports.

That platform, which includes high-definition mapping, will eventually be used to power a fleet of self-driving taxis in China. It's an open platform, though, so the hopes are that automakers will use the tech to power its own autonomous vehicles. In fact, Volvo already uses Nvidia's Drive PX 2 computer in its own self-driving test fleet.