Baidu defends driverless cars after fatal Uber crash
CEO Robin Li compares coverage of crash to “man bites dog” story
Baidu isn’t backing down from driverless cars -- after one of Uber’s autonomous cars struck and killed a woman in the United States.
CEO Robin Li said at an event on Monday that Uber’s accident wouldn’t affect Baidu’s plans for autonomous vehicles, claiming they are much safer than cars driven by human drivers.
“On average, 500 people die from traffic accidents [caused by human drivers] a day. But we rarely read this in the news. While the first accident involving an Uber autonomous driving car made quite a stir, it is to some extent mainly because ‘man bites dog’ makes news,” said Li.
After the crash, some companies paused development of autonomous cars, including Toyota. But last Friday, Beijing gave Baidu permission to test driverless cars inside the city itself -- showing China’s willingness to push on and become a leader in autonomous vehicles.
Baidu is building a platform for self-driving cars called Apollo, which the company compares to Android -- an operating system that runs across multiple devices. The company says mass production of a driverless bus built on its platform will begin in the next few months.