Baidu boss investigated for riding in self-driving car
China / July 7, 2017

The head of Chinese online search giant Baidu is being investigated, after riding in one of the firm’s driverless cars on a Beijing ring-road. Robin Li was in the passenger seat when he made a video call to an artificial-intelligence developers conference in the Chinese capital. But while autonomous vehicles are tipped as the future of motoring, they are banned from China’s public roads. Police began an investigation after the video went viral. The footage shows another Baidu executive in the driver’s seat, but with his hands off the steering wheel. Mr Li reportedly told his audience the vehicle was on autopilot and that the journey was smooth. Baidu, which has not commented on the incident, is one of many firms developing prototypes of self-driving vehicles that will use mapping and artificial intelligence technology. Expansion plans At the conference, Baidu announced that it had built an alliance with 50 partners to develop and promote self-driving cars. Image captionBaidu’s main competition is Google’s self-driving ‘Waymo’ platform They include Ford, Daimler, five Chinese car manufacturers, mapping firm TomTom, and chipmakers Intel and Nvidia. Baidu said it hoped to have autonomous cars on China’s roads by 2019 – so long as the law…