Baidu to lift lid on driverless tech

Chinese internet giant Baidu has said it will share much of the technology it has created for its self-driving cars to other carmakers, with some technologies available as early as July.

Called Apollo, the project will make a range of software, hardware and data services available to other manufacturers.

Baidu, described as China’s Google, has been developing self-drive vehicles since 2015. Following on from this summer, there will then be a gradual roll-out of other technology, with the intention of offering its full range of developments by 2020.

In a statement, Baidu’s group president Qi Lu said it wanted to create a ‘collaborative ecosystem to encourage greater innovation and opportunities, making better use of our technology to drive the evolution of the entire industry.’

James Chao of IHS Markit said this move could be compared to Google’s decision to release Android as a free operating system for smartphones.

He said, ‘It really sounds like they want to treat this like a smartphone platform. The holy grail for software in cars is to become the Android or iOS that everyone is using, and this is their strategy to do that.’