Baidu, China’s largest internet search services provider and a national champion in artificial intelligence, has jointly launched with Chery Automobile its first production-model electric vehicle built with an AI operating system, escalating efforts by domestic car manufacturers to embed more advanced technologies into their products. A new version of the Exeed TX, an electric sports utility vehicle that Chery first sold in China last year, will have Baidu’s DuerOS, an AI platform that supports face-scanning payment, augmented reality navigation and remote control of home appliances among other features, according to a WeChat post by Baidu on Monday. The DuerOS would provide a more customised user experience, including specific driver greetings as well as automatic adjustments to seats and lighting, the company said. China’s tech billionaires back ethical rules to guide development of AI and other technologies The smart Exeed TX, part of Chery’s initiative to attract younger consumers, is expected to hit the domestic market next month, according to the state-owned carmaker. Chery did not immediately respond to text inquiries about the potential opportunity to export DuerOS-equipped Exceed TX units. Nasdaq-listed Baidu, which started its AI investments about seven years ago, has been stepping up its efforts to bring AI into cars, homes and enterprises in China. Its main AI products are open-source autonomous driving platform Apollo, DuerOS and the ABC-Stack hybrid cloud platform for deploying AI into businesses. Baidu under pressure to maintain pace of growth amid macro challenges and tough advertising market DuerOS was embedded into more than 200 million devices with voice-command functions at the end of last year, according to Baidu’s recent corporate filing. Baidu’s work with Chery comes after the Beijing-based online search giant led a 3 billion yuan (US$446 million) funding round in WM Motor Technology, an electric car start-up founded by the former China head of Volvo Car Corp. WM Motor and Baidu are collaborating on smart car and autonomous driving research. The two companies are expected to roll out the first production models embedded with AI technologies in 2021, said the Shanghai-based carmaker in a statement on Friday. Baidu bucks the capital winter to play catch-up to Alibaba, Tencent in outside investments Baidu had earlier invested in ride-booking platform Shouqi and NIO, another electric vehicle start-up. The foray into AI by Baidu shows how the company is looking for new high-growth businesses amid a slowing Chinese economy and weakening revenue from its search advertising operations. “We have entered a new stage in China’s internet, where the population and penetration dividend has gone,” said Robin Li Yanhong, the billionaire founder, chairman and chief executive, during the company’s earnings call earlier this month. China’s national AI champion Baidu to test driverless delivery vans in US with Udelv for Walmart The company expects new business opportunities powered by its AI products to continue expanding this year, according to Li. In January, Baidu entered into a strategic partnership with California-based autonomous delivery start-up Udelv that will see self-driving vans powered by the Chinese company’s software offer delivery services to American retailers.