Chinese search engine giant Baidu (think Google) is to ready spend £1.1billion on new driverless car projects over the next three years.

In a move to play catch up with US rivals, the company have launched of Baidu’s “Apollo Fund” coincides with the release of Apollo 1.5, the latest version of its open-source autonomous vehicle software.

Baidu hopes to have its cars ready for Chinese roads by 2020 but the plans may be blighted by local regulators, who have previously stopped the company from testing on highways.

In the summer, police in Beijing said they were investigating whether the company had broken city traffic rules by testing a driverless car on public roads as part of a demonstration.

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