Just two months after Baidu announced the launch of a autonomous driving zone in China’s Anhui province, the search giant is now planning to test their cars on tourists in one of the country’s most popular travel destinations, according to state media.
Baidu is reportedly developing a deal with Wuzhen tourism Co., a travel agency in Wuzhen, which is famed for its quaint historic houses built atop a network of canals. The popular tourist destination is sometimes dubbed the ‘Venice of China.’
Wang Jin, the head of Baidu’s autonomous driving division, told Xinhua News that they are currently working with the local tourist agency to develop possible routes, as well as settling details including costs and the number of vehicles. The plan has not yet been finalized and a launch date has not been set, according to he report.
Baidu unveiled the autonomous car at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen last year, before completing a series of tests on the outskirts of Beijing. In March the company announced they would soon begin testing the vehicles in the U.S., where they have a dedicated AI research base.
Wuzhen is approximately 100 kilometers southwest of Shanghai in Zhejiang province, which neighbors Anhui province, where Baidu announced an official testing ground for the autonomous cars in Wuhu city earlier this year. Baidu has said previously that they intend to launch a total of ten testing locations in China throughout 2016.
The company has said publicly that they intend to have their cars on the road within the next five years, in a challenge to U.S. tech giant Google, which is currently testing autonomous models on public roads.
Technode reached out to Baidu to confirm the details of the project and we will update with any further information.