Chinese web services giant Baidu has opened up its autonomous driving platform to the automotive industry as it looks to work with other companies to lead the way in the development of self-driving vehicles.
The project, named ‘Apollo’, will provide a complete hardware and software service solution. Baidu will open source code and capabilities in obstacle perception, trajectory planning, vehicle control, vehicle operating systems and other functions.
“China is the world's largest market for automotive sales and production. It has many car brands and an open environment that is ripe for collaboration,” said Qi Lu, group president and COO at Baidu. “Baidu took the initiative to open our autonomous driving technology to the industry in order to encourage greater innovation and opportunities, making better use of our technology to drive the evolution of the entire industry. An open, innovative industry ecosystem initiated by Baidu will accelerate the development of autonomous driving in the US and other developed automotive markets.”
Baidu will open its autonomous technology for restricted environment in July, before sharing its technology for self-driving cars in simple urban road conditions towards the end of the year, and gradually introduce its full autonomous capabilities on highways and open city roads by 2020.
In addition to open sourcing its technology, Baidu says it will initiate a partnership alliance to ‘provide the best and most compatible vehicles, sensors, and other components’ with industry partners.