China’s Baidu believes it could offer autonomous car this year image

Google and Apple move aside with your projects for self-driving and electric cars that could be ready for real world driving during the next decade, here comes China’s Baidu Inc.

The technology company’s chief executive officer has just announced that China’s biggest Internet search engine would join the automakers and technology companies that seek to introduce connected vehicles. The linchpin – Baidu would have ready an autonomous car this year. On the sidelines of several meetings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, Chief Executive Officer Robin Li said Baidu has been hard at work researching “smart” vehicles and is currently in development phase with auto producers, though he declined to reference the involved automakers. “Marrying traditional and the cutting edge can speed up the evolution of the auto industry,” commented Han Weiqi, an analyst with CSC International Holdings in Shanghai. Baidu’s Li also added – without providing specific details – the company he leads would move to introduce lending services in the near future.

China’s Information Technology and Industry Minister Miao Wei recently commented on the drive towards autonomous vehicles, claiming officials would encourage companies outside the traditional auto industry to partner with the carmakers to encourage innovation. One such example could be Google Inc’s drive to introduce a fleet of driverless cars in testing programs in the near future or Apple’s rumored secretive project to develop and produce an electric car within the next five years.

Via Bloomberg