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Chinese search provider Baidu follows Google with a 'highly autonomous car' of its own

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Chinese search engine Baidu is widely known as "the Google of China," and it looks like the company plans to go toe-to-toe against Google with a self-driving car of its own. According to statements attributed to Kai Yu, a deputy director of a Baidu research group focused on machine learning, the company is working on "a highly autonomous car." Yu tells The Next Web that it's "an intelligent assistant collecting data from road situations and then operating locally," adding, "We don’t call this a driverless car."

"It's like riding on a horse."

Yu continues to explain that the car is designed to give freedom to 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."

The Next Web reports that the prototype vehicle will have a steering wheel and pedals for direct control, unlike Google's most recent autonomous vehicles. While there's little information to go off of, it sounds like the system being designed by Baidu will be an advanced version of systems already in the works from car companies, like Audi's "Piloted Driving." We'll know more when a prototype vehicle is completed sometime next year.