Chinese internet giant Baidu is leading the self-driving race by a huge margin, at least on its home turf Beijing, according to a report published by the Beijing government.
Baidu got 45 out of 56 self-driving road test licenses and conducted driving test totaling 140,000 km in 2018. Last year, Beijing authorities issued driverless car road tests licenses to 8 companies, including industry leaders such as Baidu, Pony.ai, and Nio.
Baidu, the “Chinese Google” which still dominates the country’s search market, turned its eye to self-driving with the introduction of its ambitious Apollo project in April 2017. Beijing traffic police investigated the company in 2017 after a video with Baidu’s founder Robin Li sitting in a driverless car went viral.