Alexander F. Yuan / AP

Chinese search giant Baidu announced Wednesday that it is offering its Apollo self-driving car technology free, MIT Technology Review reports.

The decision to make its software open source aims to allow China's auto sector to catch up in the race to put fully autonomous cars on urban roads, which Baidu plans to accomplish by the end of 2020. Startup AutonomouStuff demonstrated Apollo's bootstrapping capabilities, presenting a Lincoln vehicle that it turned into a rudimentary self-driving car using the Apollo technology in just three days.

Why it matters: American software designers have guarded their self-driving car technology, but Baidu's open source strategy is meant — like Google did with Android — quickly amass driver data necessary to test and improve its code. The Chinese government also likes the open-source model, as it will help them better regulate the technology and use it for urban planning.

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FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

Official says White House political appointees "commandeered" Bolton book review

John Bolton's book "The Room Where it Happened." Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

A former career official at the National Security Council claims her pre-publication review of former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive book on President Trump was "commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose," according to a letter from her lawyers filed in court on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The White House fought against the publication of Bolton's book for most of the year on the grounds that it contained harmful and "significant amounts of classified information."

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