Baidu goes head-to-head with Google over self-driving car

Chinese search engine firm Baidu is going head-to-head with Google by designing a self-driving car of its own.

According to statements by Kai Yu, a deputy director of a Baidu research group focusing on machine learning, the company is developing a "highly autonomous car."

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In an interview with The Next Web, Yu said that it is "an intelligent assistant collecting data from road situations and then operating locally," adding, "We don't call this a driverless car."

Yu also explained that the main difference between Baidu's product and Google's yet-to-be-released autonomous car is the freedom it offers the driver.

"Freedom means the car is intelligent enough to operate by itself, like a horse, and make decisions under different road situations... Whenever the driver wants to resume control, you can do that. It's like riding on a horse, rather than just sitting in a car where you only have a button."

Baidu's prototype vehicle is set to possess a steering wheel and pedals for direct control unlike Google's car. While few details have been released regarding the device, it is expected to launch as a more advanced version of systems already in development for automobile firms, like Audi's "Piloted Driving."

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More details are expected to be available with the launch of the prototype vehicle next year,