The China-based tech giant Baidu is slated to soon release a list of more than 30 manufacturing partners that are working with it on the development of self-driving vehicle tech — a list that includes the auto manufacturer Chery Automobile — according to recent reports.
While much of Baidu’s research takes place in China, self-driving vehicle tech research is taking place in Silicon Valley as well — partly owing to the company’s plans to sell in the market in partnership with Chinese auto manufacturers.
While people seem to generally express skepticism about China-produced autos, the truth is that the same was true of Korean and Japanese auto manufacturers not that long ago. Despite what auto enthusiasts may claim, vehicle manufacturing isn’t much of an art, but something that simply requires hard work be put in to develop a quality product. The people who now claim that they will never buy a car produced in China are probably not much different than the same people (or type of people) who 20 years ago said that they would never buy a Korean car, or who said 40–50 years ago that they would never buy a Japanese one.
As far as the recent news concerning Baidu, Reuters provides more: “Like Waymo, the self-driving arm of Google parent Alphabet Inc, Baidu is using what it has learned in mapping and artificial intelligence to design the software and systems necessary to make self-driving cars a reality. … Baidu has at least one advantage over Waymo, based just five miles away at the sprawling Googleplex in Mountain View. It now has a presence in the United States, whereas Alphabet has no footprint in China, after Google shuttered its website there in 2010 rather than bow to the government’s internet censorship.
“… Over six years, Baidu has assembled a formidable 200-person tech team, recruiting from top US universities and established leaders in the auto and tech industry, including Google, Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp.
“It has expanded its technical capability through the acquisition of vision and robotics startup xPerception, a close partnership with chipmaker Nvidia Corp, and investments in other Silicon Valley firms such as Velodyne, an expert in lidar, the light-sensing technology key to letting self-driving cars ‘see’ where they are going.”
Overall, Baidu’s efforts appear to be quite serious and may lead to its goals concerning the US market at some point. We’ll keep you posted.
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