Photo: AFP/Getty

Baidu announced Thursday it made a trio of hires and is establishing two new AI labs — one focused on business intelligence and the other on robotics and autonomous driving.

Why it matters: These are both hot research areas and represent Baidu's biggest moves in AI since Andrew Ng left last March.

Here are the new hires:

  • Former IBM, Microsoft and AT&T Labs researcher Kenneth Church, an influential research scientist in natural language processing.
  • Big Data expert Jun Huan, formerly a computer science professor at the University of Kansas.
  • Rutgers University professor Hui Xiong, whose research focuses on data engineering.

“This is the beginning of a new journey for Baidu Research. Our mission will be centered on conducting future-looking fundamental research, setting the direction for Baidu’s future AI development and empowering the company’s long-term strategy,” Baidu research head Haifeng Wang said in a statement.

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