Baidu powers up autonomous efforts with Bosch deal in China

20 April, 2017, 10:53 | Author: Oscar Goodwin
  • Baidu's autonomous platform to be available to partners from July

In the meantime, all eyes are now on the launch of Project Apollo slated for July this year.

Baidu says it will "open source" its software in areas including route-planning and vehicle control, which could help the internet company develop its capabilities in self-driving technology more quickly.

SHANGHAI-Baidu Inc. will share software technology it is developing for self-driving cars in a bid to catch up with competitors including General Motors Co.

The project aims to provide a complete solution to autonomous driving including the hardware, software solutions along with cloud data services.

Baidu said it would work with partners who would provide vehicles, sensors and other components.

Baidu chose the name "Apollo" as a reference to the NASA moon missions, and while it may not quite be of the same magnitude, the Chinese firm's autonomous-car project is fairly ambitious. Finally, it will gradually introduce fully autonomous driving capabilities on highways and open city roads over time by 2020.

"AI has great potential to drive social development, and one of AI's biggest opportunities is intelligent vehicles", said Baidu COO Qi Lu in a press release.

Baidu has invested heavily in the research and development of autonomous driving technology since 2015.

China is the world's largest market for automotive sales and production.

The company has also put a self-driving team in Silicon Valley, which will primarily carry out research, development, and testing of autonomous vehicles. The platform will initiate a collaboration program between Baidu and other automobile giants and industry leaders.

Using Baidu's software will also give auto makers access to critical high-quality mapping technology in China, a space that foreign technology companies have made little inroads in.

Baidu plans to build a collaborative ecosystem by opening up its robust, mature and secure autonomous driving technology to the industry.

For some time, it looked like Baidu's self-driving goals would be based on domination in China-perhaps to gain footing in the ride-sharing business now dominated by Apple AAPL backed Didi Chuxing-but today's announcement implies that the internet behemoth has more global dreams.

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