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Daimler, Baidu sign MoU to expand automated driving collaboration

ABR Staff Writer Published 26 July 2018

German automaker Daimler and Chinese search engine giant Baidu have agreed to expand their partnership via joint automated driving and connectivity projects.

The companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand partner-ship via the Apollo autonomous driving platform and to integrate Baidu’s vehicle connectivity services into Mercedes-Benz infotainment system MBUX.

The two companies will also work in new fields in vehicle connectivity services.

Daimler was also one of the early automakers to have joined Baidu’s autonomous driving platform Apollo, launched in April last year. The platform is an all-in-one solution to support major features and functions of an automated vehicle.

In December last year, Daimler became a member of Apollo Committee which pursues the goal of accelerating research on safer solutions in automated driving in China and to promote the drafting of related laws and regulations.

Daimler management board chairman and Mercedes-Benz Cars head Dieter Zetsche said: “With the changes facing the industry today, we have worked consistently to implement our C.A.S.E. strategy for innovation both globally and at a local level in China.

“In particular, automated driving and connectivity are progressing at an unprecedented rate in China, and our continued success depends not only on staying ahead of these trends but on leading them. Daimler and Baidu already enjoy a strong partnership in these two fields, and the signing of this memorandum marks a new milestone in the cooperation between our two companies.”

CASE is Daimler’s new corporate strategy which stands for Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Service and Electric Drive strategy. It was announced at CES in January, last year.

Earlier this month, Daimler became the first international automaker to have received road test license for highly automated driving research vehicles (level 4) in Beijing.

Daimler intends to use Mercedes-Benz V-Class for this testing. The vehicles will be equipped with additional technical applications from Baidu’s Apollo. Presently, the vehicles have undergone extensive testing at the National Pilot Zone (Beijing and Hebei) for Intelligent Mobility to qualify for the license.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies also intend to launch a new joint project in vehicle connectivity, which will further integrate Baidu connectivity services into Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX), the intelligent infotainment system.

Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li said: “In the era of artificial intelligence and big data, the automotive industry will evolve according to a drastically different logic – from vertical integration to a platform-based ecosystem – making now the optimal time for global automakers and tech companies to work together and deepen cooperation in building an intelligent ecosystem.

"It is my hope that this strengthened partnership between Baidu and Daimler will lead to more cross-industry collaboration and push forward the global automated driving industry.”

Image: Dieter Zetsche on the left and Robin Li on the right. Photo: Courtesy of Daimler AG.