Baidu Inc., is planning to test its autonomous cars in the U.S. in a bid to launch a commercially viable model by 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The Chinese tech giant had announced last year it wanted to manufacture vehicles that could possibly be used as public shuttles.

Baidu’s chief scientist Andrew Ng told the Journal that its Sunnyvale, California, office has 160 workers with many of them working on the car project.

On Tuesday, several executives from companies working on self-driving cars testified in front of a U.S. Senate committee to talk about potential safety regulations and the situation of the autonomous car industry.

Ng recommended the development of mobile applications to expedite communication with driverless vehicles, the Journal reported. Some construction workers could use certain applications to send a signal to software-driven cars to tell them to reach at their destinations during unexpected road closures. Others could allow law-enforcement officials to communicate with these vehicles when they are directing traffic, the Journal reported, citing Ng.

On Feb. 14, a Google self-driving car was involved in a minor accident in California while being tested. It hit a public school bus on Silicon Valley street, according California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Following the accident, Google changed its software for self-driving cars.