Baidu announced Thursday that it has received an autonomous vehicle testing permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, bringing the Chinese search giant one step closer to testing its self-driving cars on Google’s home turf.
Earlier this year, Baidu said it would be creating a team of up to 100 engineers, based in Silicon Valley, to work on autonomous vehicles. Now the company says this team is up and running, and the new permit from California will allow it to begin testing its vehicles.
“We will start testing our autonomous driving technologies on public roads very soon in California,” says Jing Wang, senior vice president of Baidu and general manager of Baidu’s Autonomous Driving Unit, in a statement. “Baidu has already built a strong team in Silicon Valley to develop autonomous driving technologies, and being able to do road tests will greatly accelerate our progress.”
Baidu is the latest in a long list of car makers and suppliers to receive autonomous vehicle testing permits in California. Others include Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Google, Delphi Automotive, Tesla Motors, Bosch, Nissan, GM Cruise LLC, BMW, Honda, Ford, Zoox, Inc., Drive.ai, and Faraday Future.