Baidu’s Apollo autonomous driving program has thrust the search giant into the spotlight. Named after NASA’s moon missions, the self-driving program recently enjoyed a series of wins when Baidu came out on top in annual self-driving reports released by authorities in California and Beijing.

Waymo has said the reports do not provide “relevant insights” or distinguish their company’s “performance from others in the self-driving space.” Kyle Vogt, the CTO of General Motors-backed Cruise, shared similar sentiments. “The idea that disengagements give a meaningful signal about whether an AV is ready for commercial deployment is a myth,” he wrote in a blog post.

Still, much is expected of Baidu’s self-driving efforts. The company has launched autonomous ride-hailing services in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, as well as in Cangzhou, in north China’s Hebei province, with a fleet of 30 cars. Baidu’s autonomous driving tests have covered more than 3 million kilometers on public roads across 23 Chinese cities.

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Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based technology reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.