Chinese search engine firm Baidu Inc, widely known as China's Google, is following Google and working on its own version of a self-driving car.

A report in The China Daily said Baidu had confirmed it has starting working on the project for a 'highly autonomous' vehicle. However, the report also suggested that Baidu's project stops short of a fully autonomous car, with the car able to assist the driver.

Yu Kai, deputy director of Baidu's Institute of Deep Learning, said in a recent interview that Baidu's car is "semi-self-driving". Compared with Google's prototype, which has no steering wheel or pedals, Baidu's car is more like a "horse" that would guide itself unless the driver wanted to take over, the China Daily report said.

According to the report, the car under development will be equipped with radar, camera and sensors, as well as a navigation system. The car can automatically drive itself as soon as a destination is entered into the navigation system. The sensors will upload traffic conditions, and using big data technology, the car will make its own decisions about such things as direction and driving speed.

A prototype is expected next year, the report said.