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Baidu Signs Strategic Partnership Agreements with BAIC Group and King Long to Accelerate Autonomous Driving

BEIJING, Oct. 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU) announced signing strategic cooperation agreements with two of China’s leading automotive companies, BAIC Group and Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd. (“King Long”). Baidu and BAIC Group, one of the largest automakers in China, will mass-produce vehicles with Level 3 autonomous features around 2019 and fully autonomous Level 4 cars around 2021. Baidu also signed a strategic partnership agreement with King Long, a leading Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer. Together the two companies will put autonomous buses that run on designated areas into mass production and trial operation by the end of July 2018. These agreements mark another milestone in the development of the Apollo open-source autonomous driving platform and ecosystem following Baidu’s release of Apollo 1.5 this past September.

The image of an autonomous driving bus prototype to be launched by Baidu and King Long in 2018.
The image of an autonomous driving bus prototype to be launched by Baidu and King Long in 2018.

BAIC Baidu
Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Li (right) and BAIC Group Chairman Xu Heyi at strategic partnership agreement signing ceremony.

/EIN News/ -- Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:

Baidu and BAIC Group to Mass Produce Level 4 Autonomous Vehicles by 2021

The combination of Baidu’s Apollo open platform and BAIC Group’s vehicle platform will enable the mass production of autonomous cars, with Baidu’s AI technology at the core. The cooperation covers connected cars and cloud services with the goal of creating an “AI+Automotive” ecosystem. Apollo technology, the conversational AI platform DuerOS, and image recognition technologies will be integrated into BAIC Group’s in-car systems to create a one-stop shop of connected car products. In addition, the two companies will jointly explore opportunities to create a new cloud ecosystem, products in intelligent transportation and mobile travel, and other big data services. The cooperation will cover BAIC Group’s passenger, commercial, and new-energy vehicles. It is anticipated that BAIC will be fully equipped with the Apollo car networking capabilities by the end of 2018, and in 2019, the number of BAIC vehicles equipped with Baidu’s connected car products is expected to exceed 1 million.

Baidu Chairman and CEO, Robin Li, said, “More than a century ago the automobile went from stage zero to stage one, and in doing so, it not only transformed the way people travelled, but also created new industry systems and became a model of industrial innovation. Baidu and BAIC Group are joining forces on the opportunity to likewise bring autonomous vehicles from stage zero to stage one, grow China’s automotive industry, and to help write a new chapter in the industry’s history.”

BAIC Group Chairman, Xu Heyi, said, “The rise of AI has led to unprecedented change in traditional manufacturing. We need a more open and innovative spirit to meet these changes. Intelligent technology is a major trend in the global automotive industry, and it is essential to BAIC Group as we continue our transformation into an innovation-driven company. We hope that by cooperating with Baidu in autonomous driving, intelligent driving, and intelligent transport, we can improve the future of travel for us all.”  

Baidu and King Long to Advance Mass Production of Autonomous Buses by 2018

Baidu and King Long, China’s leading bus manufacturer, will work together to release autonomous driving buses that run on designated areas by the end of July 2018. These vehicles will be the first self-driving buses in China to be mass-produced and mark an acceleration of Baidu’s timeline for the mass production of autonomous vehicles. The partnership will combine Apollo’s cutting-edge autonomous driving solutions with King Long’s extensive vehicle fleet, pioneering work, and expertise in commercial vehicle designs for mass production. The Apollo platform will be integral to the entire research and development process. The two companies have already performed autonomous waypoint driving in enclosed venues using King Long buses deployed with Apollo’s 1.0 capabilities. Together, Baidu and King Long will aim to provide autonomous buses to supply first and last mile services in China.

Baidu Vice Chairman, Group President and COO, Qi Lu, said, “The mass production of autonomous vehicles will first be achieved in the commercial vehicle segment, and this corporation represents a key step toward this. Our cooperation together will combine Baidu’s AI expertise and King Long’s automotive production experience to create commercial value and contribute to combatting China’s traffic congestion problem. This is just one area where the Apollo platform will help advance China’s automotive industry significantly over the coming years.”

King Long Chairman, Siyu Xie, said, “The cooperation between Baidu and King Long will help fully realize the vision of a safer, more convenient and efficient public transportation system by 2018. This is a big step towards making China’s public transportation more intelligent and connected, and we are proud to be a part of this industry milestone.”

About Baidu
Baidu, Inc. is the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. Baidu aims to make a complex world simpler through technology. Baidu's ADSs trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "BIDU". Currently, ten ADSs represent one Class A ordinary share.

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