China’s Baidu is considering making its own electric vehicles and has held talks with automakers about the possibility, the latest move in a race among tech firms to develop smart cars.
The search-engine leader, which also develops autonomous driving technology and internet connectivity infrastructure, is considering contract manufacturing, or creating a majority-owned venture with automakers. The initiative would be a step up from internet peers such as Tencent, Amazon and Alphabet, which have also developed auto-related technology or invested in smart-car startups.
Baidu established autonomous driving unit Apollo in 2017. The unit mainly supplies technology powered by artificial intelligence and work with automakers such as Geely, Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford.
Baidu operates autonomous taxi service Go Robotaxi with safety drivers on board in Beijing, Changsha and Cangzhou, and plans to expand to 30 cities in three years.