Baidu CEO says EV arm's autonomous driving tech will be ahead of Tesla

ROBO-01, a "robot" concept car by Baidu's electric vehicle (EV) arm Jidu Auto, is displayed during a media preview before its debut, in Beijing
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BEIJING (Reuters) -Baidu's electric vehicle (EV) firm Jidu Auto will be one-generation ahead of Tesla in terms of autonomous driving technologies, Baidu chief executive Robin Li said in a statement on Monday.

"Our understanding of smart vehicles is that being electric is the semi-final while being intelligent is the final," Li added.

Jidu aims to be to be able to deliver 800,000 of its "robot" cars in 2028, Jidu chief executive Joe Xia Yiping said in the statement.

Jidu also plans to deliver its second model for mass production in 2024, Xia said.

Jidu revealed its first "robot" concept car, which has no door handles and can be fully controlled via voice recognition, in June, with the plan to mass produce the model in 2023.

Besides equipping the car with autonomous driving software technology powered by Baidu, Jidu's "robot" vehicles will have two lidars and 12 cameras. Lidars are detection systems, similar to radars, that use pulsed laser light rather than radio waves.

Tesla does not use lidar censors.

Baidu's EV-making plan comes as tech companies around the world race to develop smart cars after Tesla's success in commercializing EVs.

Smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp and Didi Global are among other Chinese tech giants pursuing automaking ambitions.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Zhang Yan and Brenda GohEditing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)