(Yicai Global) March 10 -- Baidu Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU] plans to spin off its driverless car business when it is fully developed and needs to attract more funding and partners, said Robin Li, chief executive of the Chinese search engine giant.
Baidu has entered the driving automation field alongside global developers such as Alphabet Inc. [NASDAQ:GOOGL] and Uber Technologies Inc., and is targeting release of its first mass-produced driverless model by 2021. Certain technical issues remain to be tackled, but the company is still on track to achieve the goal, Robin Li said in an interview with Bloomberg TV today.
Baidu is repositioning itself as a leader in artificial intelligence and next-generation technology, and former Microsoft AI specialist Lu Qi recently joined it as a member of the management board. The company has invested heavily in driverless car development, and related resources will be integrated to form a separate department Lu will lead.
If Baidu thinks a business has good potential and has reached a stage where it can be operated independently or more strategic investors can be introduced, it will get down to it, Robin Li said, who attended the annual meeting of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing this year as a member of the national political advisory body.