Automakers Toyota & Geely Join Baidu's Open Apollo Autonomous Driving Platform
China's internet search giant Baidu is partnering with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Japan's Toyota Motor Corp on areas related to artificial intelligence (AI) for self-driving cars. As part of the new partnership, Geely, which is the parent company of Swedish automaker Volvo, and Toyota are joining Baidu's open Apollo autonomous driving platform.
Baidu will provide its Apollo Minibus, a level-4 autonomous shuttle, to Toyota's e-Palette, the automaker's mobility solution for e-commerce retail vehicles in the future, and will work with the automaker to explore more uses of autonomous driving technologies, said Li Zhenyu, vice president of Baidu who leads the company's intelligent driving unit.
With Geely, Baidu will cooperate separately with Geely on AI applications such as intelligent connectivity and smart mobility, Baidu CEO Robin Li and Geely Chairman Li Shufu said at Baidu Create 2019, an annual event which showcases advances in AI.
Toyota will use Baidu's Apollo Minibus for its e-Palette mobility solution.
Since its launch in 2017, Baidu's open Apollo platform has grown into one of the largest autonomous driving ecosystems in the world. Apollo has over 130 industry partners, including global automakers Daimler, Volvo, Ford and BMW, along with thousands of developers contributing to the Apollo open-source platform.
The Apollo open autonomous driving development platform designed to speed up the development of autonomous driving technology through collaboration among partners.
The Apollo autonomous driving platform gets its name from NASA's historic Apollo lunar missions. Baidu president Ya-Qin Zhang said the company chose the name Apollo as the work of developing self-driving cars is just as challenging as the lunar landing was in 1969.
China, the world's largest auto market and the country is looking to take the global lead in electrification, autonomous driving and AI. In the U.S. Waymo, the self-driving arm of Google parent Alphabet is considered to be an industry leader in autonomous driving.
Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have previously announced local guidelines for self-driving tests.
Baidu already has approval to test self-driving vehicles on some public streets in China.
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