(Yicai Global) April 19 – China's search giant Baidu Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU] will share its complete, open and secure automated driving software platform, dubbed Apollo, with partners in relevant businesses, enabling them to build their own automated driving systems customized to their auto products, it announced today.
Apollo comprises of full-integrated software, hardware and service systems divided into four parts – vehicle, hardware, software and cloud data service platforms. Situational awareness, path planning, vehicle control and vehicle operating system codes and capabilities will be shared, with a complete set of development and testing tools provided, Baidu said.
The company will form alliances with carmakers and sensor manufacturers possessing the highest degree of compatibility with its products, and recommend them to other participants to lower the technology barriers and popularize driving automation technology.
Baidu has set out plans to realize the project. They include sharing autonomous driving capability for enclosed areas by July, exporting autonomous driving intended for simple urban environment by year's end and sharing fully automated driving technology that can be used on motorways and urban roads by 2020.
"As the world's largest auto production and sales market, China has many auto brands and offers an open cooperation environment," said Lu Qi, Baidu's president and chief operations officer. "By offering our driving automation technology, we hope to create more innovations through collaboration with auto companies, thus allowing the technology that we developed over the years to have more extensive benefits and drive industry transformation. If we look beyond China at the US and other developed auto markets, the open and innovative ecosystem championed by Baidu can also stimulate the development of automated driving in these markets," he said.
Baidu first unveiled large-scale autonomous car development in 2015, and road-tested its product on motorways and roads in Beijing in December the same year. It obtained the autonomous vehicle deployment permit from the California government in September 2016, and put its self-driving cars into trial operation in Wuzhen in China's Zhejiang province last November.