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  • Ahead of Tesla’s ‘AI Day’, China’s largest search engine company Baidu has unveiled its next-generation AI chip for autonomous vehicles
  • Baidu CEO Robin Li also unveiled a prototype autonomous vehicle, dubbed “Robocar”, solidifying the company’s diversification from advertising
  • Meanwhile, Tesla is tipped to show off its developments in artificial intelligence and implications for autonomous driving at ‘AI Day’
  • The invitation-only event will also serve as a recruitment event, Mr Musk says, and will start at 5 pm PST August 19, 2021 / 10 am AEST August 20, 2021

Ahead of Tesla’s ‘AI Day’, China’s largest search engine company Baidu has unveiled its next-generation AI chip for autonomous vehicles.

While one originated as an electric vehicle company and the other as an advertising company, both Tesla and Baidu are painting a future where autonomous vehicles are very much embedded in society.

To arrive at that destination Tesla, Baidu and many other players are developing the artificial intelligence and neural networks required to replace human hands on the steering wheel or replace the steering wheel entirely.

Elon Musk’s ‘AI Day’

Tesla’s annual showcase day – this year dubbed ‘AI Day’ – will offer a stage for the company to demonstrate its progress towards that future. It will also offer CEO Elon Musk a stage to show Tesla as an AI and robotics company.

Earlier this year, Mr Musk commented that long term he hoped people would shift their view of Tesla from that of a car and energy company, to one equally involved in AI and robotics.

The invitation-only event will also serve as a recruitment event, according to Mr Musk, and will kick off at 5 pm PST August 19, 2021 / 10 am AEST August 20, 2021.

It follows last year’s ‘Battery Day’, and ‘Autonomy Day’ the year before. However, this year’s event comes at an awkward time for Tesla.

Earlier this week US authorities launched a probe into the company’s driving assistance system, Autopilot, in light of several crashes. Since 2018, the National Highway Safety Administration has recorded 11 instances where Teslas have crashed into emergency services vehicles.

Baidu and the autonomous vehicle future

Someone who shares Mr Musk’s vision of an autonomous vehicle future is Baidu CEO and Chairman Robin Li, although for Mr Li those vehicles would be more robot than car.

In January, the company entered the intelligent electric vehicle market with the creation of Jidu Auto with joint venture partner and Chinese carmaker Geely.

On Wednesday, Baidu held its annual world conference where it unveiled its second-generation AI chip for autonomous vehicles, Kunlun 2, which the company said was suitable for areas such as autonomous driving.

Baidu also showed off a new autonomous vehicle – dubbed the “robocar” – which has wing-like doors and no steering wheel or pedals. The company didn’t offer any timeline as to when the robocar would make it to market.

Although when Jidu Auto was established, it was with the goal of launching a production model in 2024.

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