• Wang Jing, Baidu's senior vice president, poses with one of the company's autonomous cars at Baidu's headquarters in Beijing.

Wang Jing, Baidu's senior vice president, poses with one of the company's autonomous cars at Baidu's headquarters in Beijing. (Photo : Getty Images)

China's search engine Baidu and Foton Motor Group have recently unveiled a driverless truck, which the two companies have jointly developed using the latest connected-cars technologies.

China Daily reported that the vehicle, nicknamed "super truck," is powered by Baidu's limited self-driving automation and Foton's driverless technologies and big data of commercial vehicles.

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The move is part of the efforts of Baidu Intelligent Vehicle, known as L3 Division, to develop autonomous commercial vehicles, which it believe will compete with traditional cars in the future.

"The mass deployment and implementation of driverless commercial cars may witness a boom as strong demand is projected for non-price sensitive buyers, usually company buyers," Gu Weihao, general manager of Baidu Intelligent Vehicle, said.

The L3 Division was set up in September at the Baidu World Conference 2016 to help automakers to upgrade their products for autonomous implementations.

Gu said that there is a huge potential for self-driving commercial vehicles in the Chinese market, although its development lagged behind other countries. He said that compared to traditional cars, driverless cars are safer to drive and more cost-efficient.

According to the report, Baidu's self-driving truck is a Level 4 vehicle, based on the standards of U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for automated vehicles. Vehicles with level 4 in automation are used for autonomous vehicles.

More than 60 auto manufacturers are now working closely with Baidu while more than 150 cars are equipped with Baidu's intelligent vehicle software.

"We'll further collaborate with commercial vehicle OEMs to develop self-driving solutions and build typical application scenarios," said Gu. "On the other hand, being one of the pioneers in the industry, we'd like to introduce more self-driving technology providers to participate and grab a piece of the market share."

Baidu's L4 driverless cars developed by L3 Division and automakers such as Chery, BYD and Shou Qi Group, were showcased at the ongoing 3rd World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, the report said.

The company has also set up Baidu Venture and Baidu Capital, in the third quarter, which will support projects involving artificial intelligence (AI) and other Internet related work.

Robin Li, Baidu CEO, said that as part of the company's expansion, it would offer more artificial intelligence-based innovative products that include a Siri-like smart secretary and driverless cars.

The company, through its subsidiary in the U.S., has been recently granted with a permit to test its self-driving vehicles in California. The company is set to conduct more road tests for its driverless vehicles in various weather, road and traffic conditions in 10 cities across the country.