When Google first revealed the prototype for its self-driving car, some people were freaked out by the idea of a vehicle with no steering wheel or brakes. If something went wrong, you’d have to blindly trust that the car’s “panic button” could save you. That’s fairly terrifying.
Baidu, a Chinese search giant, revealed to The Next Web that it’s working on its own concept that sounds like it will make a lot more sense than Google’s version.
Baidu’s car would be highly autonomous, instead of fully driverless. The idea is that it could operate by itself, but that the driver could take control again at any time.
Baidu’s deputy director of its Institute of Deep Learning told The Next Web’s Kaylene Hong that driving its car would be more like “riding on a horse.”
“I think in the future, a car should not totally replace the driver but should really give the driver freedom,” Yu said. “Freedom means the car is intelligent enough to operate by itself, like a horse, and make decisions under different road situations. Whenever the driver wants to resume control, you can do that.”
The car would collect and use huge amounts of location and road situation data to help it navigate. Baidu won’t produce the first prototypes until 2015, but, right off the bat, the concept sounds like it would be a lot more reassuring to passengers than Google’s.