(Yicai Global) Dec. 21 -- China's search engine giant Baidu Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU] yesterday signed a cooperation agreement with Xiong'an New Area, China's new economic zone about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing in Hebei province, to jointly build it into an "artificial intelligence (AI) city." Baidu and Hebei local government also plan to set up a national AI laboratory to boost the development of AI research.
In building Xiong'an into a smart city, Baidu will leverage its capabilities in AI, Big Data, autonomous driving and cloud computing. With the focus on autonomous driving and conversational AI, Baidu will promote pilot demonstrations of smart industries and services such as smart traffic, transport, home, education, security, healthcare, environmental protection, payment and investment counseling in Xiong'an New Area.
Baidu has also displayed self-driving cars in Xiong'an New Area. Baidu's autopilot fleet also took to the streets of Xiong'an to officially conduct road test yesterday. The road test has got approval from local regulators and cooperation of the local traffic administrative departments.
Baidu brought a fleet of 10 smart cars from partners such as Daimler AG [ETR:DAI], Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F], Chery, BAIC Motor Corp. [HKG:1958], Great Wall Motors [HKG:2333], Xiamen King Long Motor Group Co. [SHA:600686] and Beijing Idriverplus Technology Co., an autonomous driving smart car integrated solution provider, to demonstrate multiple types of models, scenarios and dimensions including passenger vehicles, commercial buses, logistics vehicles and road sweepers.
China's ministry of science and technology announced the first batch of national AI open and innovative platforms, including a self-driving one based on Baidu's 'Apollo' platform last month. "It means Apollo open platform has been recognized as a national team, which will change the true landscape of China's auto industry," said Qi Lu, Baidu's group president and chief operating officer, yesterday.