Photo: Baidu

So it looks like the driverless car war might have expanded overseas: China’s top search engine, Baidu, is claiming that a gang of “hackers for hire” attempted to steal its autonomous technology, according to Bloomberg. Look out, Uber and Waymo! 

The story’s short on details, but Bloomberg quoted the company’s cybersecurity head, Ma Jie, as saying it was unclear who led the gang (Bloomberg’s word).

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“It’s very difficult to know who employs them to do that, but we know someone tried to hire someone in the underground market to steal from us,” Ma told the news outlet. More from Bloomberg:

Baidu’s cybersecurity team works around the clock testing new products and fending off attacks against its systems. The company is supporting Blue Lotus, a team of “white hat” student hackers at Tsinghua University. “If we can help students find the right way, that means less enemies in the future,” said Ma.

But the question is: why?

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The company launched its autonomous initiative in 2013, and has had driverless car prototypes on the road for some time. Baidu’s said it’d like to have self-driving vehicles in mass production within five years; Baidu’s president has even said he’d like to sell driverless cars within three years.

Maybe Baidu has some seriously advanced stuff? Whatever the case, it’s a far more interesting story than a Silicon Valley wunderkind allegedly stealing self-driving tech like a clumsy dolt.

If you know anything about this alleged gang of thieves and why they were interested in Baidu’s tech, give me a shout at ryan.felton@jalopnik.com or at Signal here.