Left Menu
Development News Edition

Mao Zedong's Red Flag car gets driverless makeover

Reuters | Updated: 01-11-2018 12:30 IST | Created: 01-11-2018 12:30 IST
China's iconic Red Flag, the vehicle of choice of former revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, is going hands-free.

Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc said on Thursday it would launch a fully autonomous passenger car next year in a partnership with Hongqi, or Red Flag, the car brand long favoured by China's political elite.

Hongqi, owned by carmaker China FAW Group Corp Ltd , is widely regarded as a symbol of China's early communist revolutionary elite, including Mao and Deng Xiaoping, who rode the luxury sedan in the 1960s and 1970s.

Baidu, often seen as China's equivalent to Alphabet Inc's Google, said it will produce a limited number of fully automated level four Hongqi vehicles in 2019 for a pilot operation, before wider release in 2020.

Level four means they require no human intervention during autonomous driving in most conditions, said Baidu Chief Executive Robin Li and FAW Chairman Xu Liuping at an event held to announce the plan.

Baidu has previously unveiled fully autonomous buses and trucks, but the Hongqi car marks a major push into self-driving vehicles for public use. The car it showed off on Thursday was white sports utility vehicle with a large sensor on its roof.

The tech firm is leading the charge in China's effort to build autonomous cars with strong backing from the Chinese government, which named Baidu - whose main business is internet search - as one of four national champions in artificial intelligence (AI).

The company is also working with several of China's largest cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, to develop autonomous driving infrastructure and public smart transport technology.

Baidu's announcement comes as Google's autonomous driving project Waymo is set to begin testing fully autonomous cars on California's roads after earlier trials in other parts of the United States.

Baidu has also reached an agreement to develop self-driving electric vehicles with Chinese-owned Volvo Cars, and announced a tie-up with Ford Motor Co on Wednesday to test self-driving vehicles on Chinese roads.

China's industry ministry has unveiled plans to become a world leader in several AI technologies, including autonomous driving, in the next decade.

The Hongqi marque has undergone several revamps over the decades, falling out of favour for a period in the 1980s, but more recently being revived amid a national push to promote Chinese brands. It has also created an electric concept car.

President Xi Jinping rode a Hongqi car during recent military parades and last month a Hongqi car was used to transport Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a rare state visit.

(Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Christopher Cushing)



Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...


Latest News

Virus scales down December Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony

The award ceremony for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, traditionally held at the Oslo city hall on December 10, will instead be held in scaled-down form at the citys university because of the coronavirus outbreak. It is a strange and challengin...

MP CM transfers Rs 800 cr to cooperative banks to be given as interest-free loans

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday transferred Rs 800 crore to cooperative banks to be given as zero per cent interest loans to farmers in the state. Sustaining the cooperative movement is the backbone of fosteri...

Delhi riots:Conspirators created WhatsApp group to mask protests with "secular facade"

The key conspirators in a case related to the communal violence in north east Delhi in February, had worked towards the creation of a WhatsApp group to mask the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act with a secular facade providing ...

CDC advisory panel will not vote on initial COVID-19 vaccine roll-out yet

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday its planned advisory committee meeting on the allocation of the initial limited doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine would not include voting on who will get the first sho...

Give Feedback