Baidu Gets First Batch of Licenses for Self-driving Road Tests in Beijing

Shares in the search engine giant ended 1 percent higher Monday, at $118.01 per ADS.

Author: Belinda Zhou   

Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) announced it was granted five self-driving test licenses by regulators in Beijing Monday, sending its stock up 1 percent to $118.01 per American depositary share.

Regulators issued the first T4 licenses with high-level technology, standards, and test scenarios. Under T4 technical standards, vehicles need to pass through tunnels, schools, and other areas that deal with complex scenes such as pedestrian violations and detours on roads under construction. 

The Beijing-based search engine giant claimed it has collected more than 100 licenses cumulatively in China. Changsha in Hunan province released 49 test licenses for 5 autopilot companies on June 21, among which Baidu took 45 licenses. Baidu said it expects to launch the Robotaxi service locally in its quarterly report.

"With the Chinese government open to experimenting the smart transportation to improve urban living, we see an opportunity to partner with local government to implement autonomous driving and smart transportation solutions across China," Robin Li, the chief executive officer said in the earnings call last month.

The regulator in Beijing issued temporary road test licenses for self-driving vehicles for eight companies including Baidu, NIO Inc. (NYSE: NIO), BAIC Group Ltd., Pony AI Inc., Daimler AG, Tencent Holdings Ltd., Suzhou-based Didi Travel Co, and Audi AG.

Li said, "Our entrance into smart transportation is opening doors to the government market and potentially expanding into broader smart city solutions to help Chinese cities modernize."