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Honda joins Baidu's autonomous driving alliance

Automaker is first from Japan to take part in Apollo plan

An autonomous car in Baidu's Apollo program in a road test in Beijing.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Honda Motor is joining a consortium led by Chinese tech giant Baidu aimed at advancing autonomous driving technology, hoping to carve out a share as China races to become the world’s largest market for self-driving vehicles.

The "Apollo Plan," launched in July 2017 by the internet service company, receives state funding as a critical national AI project. Road testing of commercial vehicles will start this year, with passenger vehicle test runs slated to begin next year.

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