Baidu’s self-driving project swerves to profit-chasing after burning cash for years

Baidu’s loss-making autonomous-driving project Apollo will focus on generating revenue and profits after a seven-year testing phase, as the Chinese internet search giant pivots to generative artificial intelligence (AI), according to an internal letter written by the unit chief.
While Baidu is one of the country’s leading players in self-driving vehicle technology, it has yet to turn its inventions into profitable products.

“After conducting tests and trials covering 100 million kilometres, our next target will be 100 million yuan of revenue and 100 million yuan of profits,” Wang Yunpeng, head of Baidu’s Intelligent Driving Group (IDG), wrote in a letter on Friday that was seen by the Post and verified by an employee belonging to the unit.

Despite how difficult that goal will be, Wang said the rapid expansion of Waymo – the autonomous-driving venture under Alphabet – and Tesla’s investment in robotaxis, show that hope is on the horizon for the industry.

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