Date
16 December 2017
In the one-minute live-cast, Robin Li told the audience that the car was on auto pilot. The police are investigating whether the test was conducted legally. Photo: Internet
In the one-minute live-cast, Robin Li told the audience that the car was on auto pilot. The police are investigating whether the test was conducted legally. Photo: Internet

Baidu’s autopilot stunt fails to impress Beijing police

Baidu co-founder Robin Li impressed attendees at the company’s developers’ conference on Wednesday by live-casting himself on autopilot in a car in Beijing.

But the police were not amused and are investigating, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

A spokesperson for the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau said autonomous driving vehicles are not allowed on roads. 

In the one-minute live-cast, Li told the audience that the car was “in a state of automatic driving”. It had just got on the fifth ring road and was heading to the conference venue, according to hk01.com.

Li later said at the conference that with the arrival of the artificial intelligence era, the Chinese search giant would be willing to share its knowhow in this area with the industry, with the ultimate goal of simplifying things and making them more enjoyable.

In response to concerns by Beijing traffic police, Baidu said Li was sitting in the passenger seat while Gu Weihao, general manager of its intelligent vehicle division, was on the driver’s seat, although his hands were not on the steering wheel.

Traffic authorities are investigating whether the test was conducted legally.

Netizens also spotted in the clip that the Baidu car violated traffic regulations by cutting lanes and that the vehicle had a license plate registered in another province, which was banned from the roads on Wednesday as part of the city’s traffic control measures.

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