(Yicai Global) July 12 -- Baidu and BMW have signed an agreement to jointly develop self-driving car technology with the German auto giant set to join the Beijing-based firm's Apollo open-source platform as a management board member.
The pair will work together to bring make autonomous driving more secure, convenient and smarter for Chinese consumers, state-backed China News Service reported.
"BMW and Baidu have been actively involved in smart cars and have reached a strong consensus on the driving automation business," Baidu President Dr. Zhang Yaqin said in a statement. "We will continue to cooperate by leveraging our respective strengths to take the development of the global autonomous driving industry to a higher level, bringing consumers a more comfortable driving and travel experience."
China is expected to be the biggest market for driverless cars globally, driven by the population's positive attitudes toward new technologies, a recent McKinsey report found. The country will have about 8 million autonomous cars by 2030 and over 13 million by 2040, while sales of self-driving vehicles will increase substantially from USD230 billion in 2030 to USD360 billion in 2040.
"Collaboration between leading car makers and tech firms is the key to the successful development of the driving automation technology," said Klaus Fröhlich, research and development chief at BMW Group. "With the partnership with Baidu, we will be able to match users' actual needs with technical plans and step up efforts to deliver our vision for autonomous driving for Chinese consumers."
Editor: William Clegg