Baidu, often referred to as the Google of China, has been working on its own self-driving car technology and it has now teamed up with one of the biggest tech companies on the planet to further advance the futuristic technology. While Microsoft has long worked with car manufacturers on software for connected cars, this appears to be the first instance of the company venturing into the self-driving car turf.
Baidu launched Apollo recently, it’s an open-source operating system for self-driving cars that any car company will be able to use for free. Partners that have signed up to contribute to the Apollo project include Microsoft, NVIDIA, Ford, and Intel.
The model isn’t that different from what Google has used with Android. The OS is an open-source platform that any tech company can use. Baidu’s aim is to work with a wide range of partners to make self-driving cars safer more quickly.
“The purpose is very clear: We want to promote openness and accelerate innovation,” says Baidu President Ya-Qin Zhang.
The data that’s produced by the Apollo operating system is going to require a significant amount of processing power. Baidu can handle that in China but not so much outside the country. This is where Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform fits in nicely.
It has the ability to handle the heavy computational load and the cloud platform is available in many countries across the globe. This will enable Baidu and its partners to make Apollo almost everywhere in the world.