China's Baidu rolls out self-driving buses
China's internet giant Baidu announced Wednesday it had begun mass producing the country's first autonomous mini-bus, as the firm prepares to roll them out in tourist spots and airports.
CEO Robin Li watched the 100th vehicle roll off a production line of a factory in the southeastern city of Xiamen.
"2018 marks the first year of commercialisation for autonomous driving. From the mass production of Apolong, we can truly see that autonomous driving is making great strides—taking the industry from zero to one," said the CEO.
The 14-seater Apolong, about one-third of the size of a normal bus, has no steering wheel, driver's seat, accelerator or brake.
Co-produced by Baidu and Chinese bus manufacturer King Long, they will soon be pressed into commercial use in enclosed areas such as tourist areas and airports in several cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and the country's new megacity Xiong'an.