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China’s Baidu plugs ‘Apollo 2.0’ self-driving platform in Vegas

Tan KW
Publish date: Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 05:17 PM
Tan KW
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Baidu Inc unveiled a souped-up version of its open self-driving platform, declaring rapid progress with partners from Microsoft Corp to TomTom NV in developing autonomous cars for China and beyond. 

China’s largest search engine used the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to announce an upgrade for its Apollo software, which it says will allow cars to drive on some city roads day or night. 

It also inked a deal to employ TomTom’s maps, and set up a US$200mil (RM801.20mil) fund with Singapore’s Asia Mobility Industries to invest in and promote the platform in South-East Asia. 

Baidu is attempting to match rivals like Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, whose cars have already plied millions of miles free of direct human control. While companies based in America have been able to test their vehicles on public roads, local Chinese governments only recently allowed portions of its infrastructure under select conditions to be used by autonomous vehicles.

But by open-sourcing its technology in a manner similar to Google’s Android operating system, Baidu is hoping to supercharge the development of its technology and become China’s leading driverless car developer. It’s partnered with over 90 providers from Blackberry to chipmaker Nvidia Corp. 

Apollo will support four main computing platforms – Nvidia, Intel, NXP and Renesas – in 2018, it said in a statement. — Bloomberg


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