Microsoft Azure is to be used by Baidu as part of its self-driving car alliance.
Self-driving cars are becoming a popular product in the technology sector, with many large tech companies joining forces with well-known car brands, such as BMW and Toyota, to create the ultimate autonomous car.
Software giant Microsoft, is included in over 50 businesses that joined an Apollo alliance created by Baidu earlier this year.
Within the partnership, Microsoft will be offering cloud infrastructure services via Azure for customers in markets outside China looking to adopt Apollo, described by Baidu as an open, “Android of autonomous driving industry.”
Neither company commented as to why the joint venture wouldn’t be used within the Chinese computing sector; however, with strict controls across the country, Microsoft may not have permission to operate the software there.
Apollo is meant to offer cloud services, open software and reference vehicle, sensor and computing hardware.
Microsoft has also been keen in nailing down partnerships in the growing autonomous cloud services sector, working with big name car firms such as BMW, Ford, Renault-Nissan, Toyota and Volvo. Its partnership with Baidu could add a range of new potential partners to their growing contact list.
President of Baidu, Ya-Qin Zhang said in a release: “Our goal with Apollo is to provide an open and powerful platform to the automotive industry to further the goal of autonomous vehicles.”
Baidu hopes to roll out a platform that can completely handle autonomous driving in both urban and highway settings by the end of 2020.
By joining the two platforms together, the partners hope the venture will allow members within the alliance to collaborate, share information and engage with the analytic power of Azure cloud computing.
Instead of solely creating its own autonomous vehicle, Microsoft has been utilizing its strengths within software sector by working alongside automotive companies on systems for turning the massive amounts of data from sensors into “actionable intelligence”.
“Today’s vehicles already have an impressive level of sophistication when it comes to their ability to capture data,” said Microsoft corporate vice-president Kevin Dallas.
“By applying our global cloud AI, machine learning, and deep neural network capabilities to that data, we can accelerate the work already being done to make autonomous vehicles safer.”