Chinese internet giant Baidu has announced the creation of a new platform called Project Apollo, which is primarily aimed at aiding car manufacturers to develop self-driving car technologies.
The company is targeting to open the platform for cars within restricted environments by July this year. By the end of the year, it hopes the technology can be used in vehicles operating in ‘simple urban conditions’. Once the technology fully matures, Baidu believes its self-driving tech will power fully autonomous vehicles by the year 2020.
Baidu had earlier partnered with BMW to develop self-driving car technologies, but the research partnership was called off in November last year due to difference in opinion regarding the pace of development. Baidu suffered another setback recently, as Andrew Ng, the man who led the company’s AI and augmented reality projects, announced that we would be leaving the company this month.
Now that the company has decided to make its platform open-source, it would be interesting to see if it can score key partnerships over the course of the next few months. The company currently enjoys partnerships with a few Chinese automakers such as BAIC Motor, Chery, and BYD.
Baidu isn’t the only company that is actively working on self-driving car technologies. A number of leading companies such as Google, Tesla, Ford, General Motors, Renault-Nissan, Daimler, Volkswagen, Delphi, Toyota, Hyundai, and Uber are also developing their own autonomous car technologies.