Chinese Tech Giant Baidu's CEO Being Investigated for Allegedly Operating Self-Driving Car on Public Road

Autonomous cars are currently banned from Chinese roads.


It's getting hard to keep up with all of these new Chinese tech giants. As some of them are constantly in the news for creating something innovative, or maybe firing their entire U.S. workforce, they're always stirring things up. In an effort to set his company apart from the rest, search engine Baidu's CEO Robin Li hosted a press conference while riding through Beijing in a self-driving car. While it might've caught the attention of those in attendance, it also gained the interest of Chinese authorities. After seeing the video, the police have begun an investigation into Li's stunt as self-driving cars are currently illegal in the country, according to The Guardian.

The footage was streamed to an AI developer conference, and Li was sitting in the passenger seat of the car. A colleague was behind the wheel, though his hands-free approach was apparently enough to set off a deep dive by the fuzz. The Chinese police went to social media after the incident, saying they "attach great importance to this matter and are actively carrying out investigations and verification."

China has declared that autonomous cars would be banned from driving on public roads until the government can curate a list of rules and safety regulations for the technology.

Li is just one of many trying to combat that legislature as his company and 50 others are jointly collaborating on a driverless car project. Baidu's project aims to rival that of American companies like Waymo—and in order to push the envelope, they've apparently taken something of a rebellious approach.

Baidu plans on having its first self-driving car on the road by 2018, with mass production expected to begin just three years later in 2021.