Baidu, the Chinese-American web services company, has launched a new project named “Apollo” to deliver an open, complete and reliable software platform for its partners in the automotive and autonomous driving industry.
The “Apollo” project offers a complete hardware and software service solution that includes vehicle, hardware and software platforms, as well as cloud data services.
Baidu will also open source code and capabilities in obstacle perception, trajectory planning, vehicle control, vehicle operating systems and other functions which will include a complete set of testing tools.
The company will begin by initiating a partnership alliance, working with partners who will provide the best and most compatible vehicles, sensors and other components to achieve broad participation and collaboration. It will also provide references and recommendations to participants of a rapidly expanding ecosystem enabled by Project Apollo.
This will be used to lower the entry barriers for research and development of autonomous driving technologies, making it more accessible to the general public, and also accelerate the overall pace of innovation.
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“AI has great potential to drive social development, and one of AI’s biggest opportunities is intelligent vehicles,” said Oi Lu, GP and COO, Baidu.
Baidu plans to build a collaborative ecosystem by opening up its robust, mature and secure autonomous driving technology to the industry.
This is to be done by utilising its strengths in artificial intelligence technology, top then work together with other companies to promote the development and popularisation of autonomous driving technology.
According to Baidu, it has invested heavily in the research and development of autonomous driving technology since 2015, when it conducted successful road tests for its autonomous cars on the highways and roads of Beijing.
Baidu will open its autonomous driving technology for the restricted environment in July 2017; it will then share its technology for autonomous cars in simple urban road towards the end of the year.
Also, by 2020 the company plans to gradually introduce fully autonomous capabilities on motorways and open city roads.