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Chinese Tech CEO Investigated For Taking a Self-Driving Car to His Own Company Event

A Chinese tech CEO caught the attention of authorities after riding his company’s autonomous vehicle to his own keynote conference.

Baidu CEO Robin Li took the prototype ride to the company’s “Baidu Create” conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

Oh his way, he spoke to attendees through a live video, saying, “The car is in autonomous driving mode, you can see the driver’s hands are completely off the wheel.”

Meanwhile, another live camera showed the car’s movements on the busy roads. Gu Weihao, general manager of Baidu’s Intelligent Vehicle Division, was reportedly in the driver’s seat.

What was supposed to be just another stunt, however, was not so for Chinese police. In a statement on Thursday, Beijing’s Traffic Management Bureau said that Baidu’s road test “will be investigated and dealt with according to the law,” according to CNN.

The Bureau also said that it supports “innovative driverless technology, however it should be carried out in accordance with the law, security and science.”

While China has no detailed laws over self-driving cars yet, its Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as reported by Bloomberg, warned last year that automakers should not test such vehicles on the road until regulations are finalized. With this, Baidu is easily in hot water.

Interestingly, Baidu had another conference highlight aside from Li’s trip. It also tweeted a GIF of two cars converted to become autonomous using Apollo 1.0, its self-driving platform.

For context, the platform was dubbed “the Android of the autonomous driving industry, but more open and powerful.”

For now, Baidu’s fate over the illicit stunt remains unclear, but perhaps similar instances may soon be avoided if the due regulations are set up already.

The company has declined to comment regarding the issue.


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