Baidu became the first in the industry to receive advanced assisted driving map permits in three Chinese cities.
Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) has received an advanced assisted driving map permit in Shanghai, laying the foundation for further scale use of its autonomous driving technology.
Shanghai recently issued the city's first urban advanced assisted driving map permit, and Baidu was approved, the tech giant announced today, adding that it became the first in the industry to receive such permits for three cities.
This means that Baidu Maps' support for automakers developing cars that support urban pilot-assisted driving features is accelerating, it said.
The map is a type of high-precision map that supports the driving automation functions of L2-L3 cars, acting as an aid to their navigation, perception, positioning and decision-making. Baidu has previously received similar permits in Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
The tech giant began developing high-precision maps in 2013 at the beginning of its foray into autonomous driving and now ranks No. 1 with a 30 percent share in the RMB 646 million ($92.5 million) segment, according to a report by market research firm IDC last week.
Chinese policy is now increasing its support for local companies exploring the autonomous driving space, with Shanghai's move being the latest.
In August, the Ministry of Natural Resources of China said in a document that it was supporting the first six cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Chongqing -- to carry out pilot projects for the application of high-precision maps for smart cars.
In September, Guangzhou and Shenzhen took the lead in starting the pilot, and in October, these two cities issued their first urban advanced assisted driving map permits, with Baidu being approved.
High-precision maps are the eyes of autonomous driving and the core infrastructure of the AI era, local brokerage firm China Securities said in a research note in July.
The minute or even second-level data update frequency of such maps can provide real-time feedback for vehicles, which is the most basic and critical technology for autonomous driving to become a reality, the note said.
Baidu's previously announced "Bring AI to Life" strategy means that the amount of high-precision map data will support the commercialization of its AI technology, the team said.