By JOE McDONALD
AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Baidu Inc. is China’s highest-profile competitor in a multibillion-dollar race with Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo and General Motors Co.’s Cruise to create self-driving cars. Baidu is test-driving more than 500 self-driving vehicles on the streets of Beijing and other Chinese cities. The company and a rival, Pony.ai, received China’s first licenses in April to operate taxis with no one in the driver’s seat but a safety supervisor on board. Baidu says its technology, if successful, could make driving cheaper and safer. Autonomous driving is part of an array of emerging technologies from artificial intelligence to renewable energy that Chinese companies are pouring billions of dollars into trying to create, urged on by the ruling Communist Party.



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