Robin Li, founder and CEO of Internet giant Baidu is being investigated by police after his video sitting in the passenger seat of self driving car got viral on internet. Robin Li was in the passenger seat when he made a video call to an artificial-intelligence developers conference in the Chinese capital. Autonomous vehicles are banned from China’s public roads. Police began an investigation after the video went viral.
The footage shows another Baidu executive in the driver’s seat, but with his hands off the steering wheel. Mr Li reportedly told his audience the vehicle was on autopilot and that the journey was smooth.
Baidu, which has not commented on the incident, is one of many firms developing prototypes of self-driving vehicles that will use mapping and artificial intelligence technology.
At the conference, Baidu announced that it had built an alliance with 50 partners to develop and promote self-driving cars including Ford, Daimler, five Chinese car manufacturers, mapping firm TomTom, and chipmakers Intel and Nvidia.
Baidu said it hoped to have autonomous cars on China’s roads by 2019 – so long as the law allowed it – before expanding to other markets including the US.
Earlier this year Baidu also opened up its self-driving car codes to software developers via the ‘Apollo’ open-source platform in the hope it would spur innovation.
Race to self driving is on and Baidu plans to play a major role in it.