Volvo Cars has reached an agreement with Baidu, the leading Chinese internet search provider, jointly to develop electric and fully autonomous drive-compatible cars with the aim of mass producing them for China, the largest car market in the world.
The partnership will allow both companies to develop and to sell these vehicles to potential Chinese customers, underlining the Swedish company’s aspirations to be the supplier of choice for mobility companies globally.
Volvo Cars and Baidu will pool resources to take the next step and prepare for mass manufacturing of fully electric and autonomous cars, according to the agreement. The collaboration with Baidu is Volvo Cars’ first of its kind in China. Volvo said it was deliberately chosen as a partner by Baidu because of its long-standing safety credentials.
Based on the collaboration agreement, Baidu will contribute with its Apollo autonomous driving platform. Volvo will provide access to its expertise and advanced technologies of the car industry.
Earlier this week, Ford Motor Company and Baidu announced they havw begun a two-year joint autonomous vehicle test project, under which the two companies will further advance the development and on-road testing of autonomous vehicles in China. (Earlier post.)
Industry forecasts show that China is likely to become the single largest market for autonomous cars in the world in coming decades. Market research firm IHS Markit predicted earlier this year that around 14.5 million autonomous cars will be sold in China by 2040, on a total global volume of around 33 million.