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Microsoft and Baidu form autonomous driving partnership

Published 19 July 2017

China's biggest search engine Baidu and technology giant Microsoft have joined join forces in the intelligent cloud to advance autonomous driving.

As part of the collaboration, Microsoft will provide assistance to Baidu in launching the Apollo programme, internationally and support it through Microsoft Azure cloud.

As per a report by McKinsey, about 15% of new cars in 2030 would be fully automated. This insight encourages the need for organisations to create an ecosystem that can support autonomous vehicles.

Microsoft corporate vice president Kevin Dallas said: "We're excited to partner with Baidu to take a giant step in helping automotive manufacturers and suppliers fully realize the promise of autonomous driving.

"Today's vehicles already have an impressive level of sophistication when it comes to their ability to capture data. By applying our global cloud AI, machine learning, and deep neural network capabilities to that data, we can accelerate the work already being done to make autonomous vehicles safer."

Apollo, which was launched by Baidu, earlier this year is an opensource platform that intends to offer secure and reliable solutions for the develop of self-driving cars.

The open platform includes cloud services, an open software stack, and reference hardware and vehicle platforms. Baidu claims that more than 50 partners from a range of sectors have jointed the alliance including navigation and mapping service provider TomTom, automotive suppliers Bosch and Continental and ride-hailing platform Grab.

Baidu president Ya-Qin Zhang said: "We are excited to have Microsoft as part of the Apollo alliance. Our goal with Apollo is to provide an open and powerful platform to the automotive industry to further the goal of autonomous vehicles.

"By using Azure, our partners outside of China will have access to a trustworthy and secure public cloud, enabling them to focus on innovating instead of building their own cloud-based infrastructure."


Image: Microsoft Joins Baidu’s Apollo programme to develop self-driving vehicles. Photo: Courtesy of Marketwired.