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Samsung and Baidu are getting into self-driving cars

Samsung is creating a new team to work on self-driving car technologies. The division will focus on components rather than building an entire vehicle, as rival Apple is rumored to be doing, and could face local competition from the Korean auto industry — Hyundai said this week it was considering developing its own chips and sensors for autonomous driving. Samsung isn't going into further detail about its long-term plans at this stage.

Another Asian giant is taking a more head-on approach to autonomous driving; Chinese search titan Baidu is developing self-driving vehicles that will serve as public shuttles, SVP Wang Jing tells The Wall Street Journal. State news agency Xinhua says Baidu has created China's first fully self-driving car, and that it achieved speeds of 100 kph in a test. Andrew Ng, a Stanford researcher behind Google's deep learning project, is now working on Baidu's autonomous driving initiative.

The cars are modified BMW 3 Series vehicles being tested on expressways to the north of Beijing; they use laser radars, sensors, and cameras in combination with Baidu's mapping and deep-learning software. The company has no stated plan to bring these cars to private consumers, but expects the first public vehicles to be in use within three years. "We will cooperate with some governments to provide shared vehicles like a shuttle service; it could be a car or van, but for public use," Wang says.