Microsoft Corp. and Baidu Inc. plan to partner to take the technical development and adoption of autonomous driving worldwide. As a member of the Baidu-launched Apollo alliance (earlier post), Microsoft will provide global scale for Apollo outside of China with the Microsoft Azure cloud.
The Apollo project, announced earlier this year, intends to provide an open, complete and reliable software platform for its partners in the automotive and autonomous driving industry to develop their own autonomous driving systems with reference vehicles and hardware platform.
Baidu’s Apollo project provides a complete hardware and software service solution that includes a vehicle platform, hardware platform, software platform and cloud data services. Baidu will open source code and capabilities in obstacle perception, trajectory planning, vehicle control, vehicle operating systems and other functions, as well as a complete set of testing tools.
We’re excited to partner with Baidu to take a giant step in helping automotive manufacturers and suppliers fully realize the promise of autonomous driving. Today’s vehicles already have an impressive level of sophistication when it comes to their ability to capture data. By applying our global cloud AI, machine learning, and deep neural network capabilities to that data, we can accelerate the work already being done to make autonomous vehicles safer.—,Kevin Dallas, corporate vice president, Microsoft
McKinsey forecasts that up to 15% of new cars sold in 2030 will be fully autonomous, which fuels the need for an ecosystem of partners to collaborate in support of a common goal.
More than 50 partners from a wide range of sectors have joined the Apollo alliance, including global navigation and mapping service provider TomTom, tier-one suppliers Bosch and Continental, and Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing platform Grab.
We are excited to have Microsoft as part of the Apollo alliance. Our goal with Apollo is to provide an open and powerful platform to the automotive industry to further the goal of autonomous vehicles. By using Azure, our partners outside of China will have access to a trustworthy and secure public cloud, enabling them to focus on innovating instead of building their own cloud-based infrastructure.—Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu
Microsoft has already been working with leaders in the automotive industry to help manufacturers ingest huge volumes of sensor and usage data from connected vehicles and apply that data to deliver actionable intelligence. Companies such as BMW, Ford, Renault-Nissan, Toyota and Volvo are all using or have announced plans to adopt Microsoft’s intelligent cloud technology to help with services like driver assist, predictive maintenance and voice-controlled media.
As part of the partnership, Baidu and Microsoft plan to explore opportunities to deliver connected vehicle solutions and unique customer experiences that aim to digitally transform the autonomous driving industry.