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Baidu and Microsoft build big data for Project Apollo

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Tinuku ~ Baidu and Microsoft collaborate in the development of autonomous vehicles. Two technology giants based in Beijing and Redmond are partnered as part of Baidu's Project Apollo launched in April in mainland China as a strategic mission to build autonomous car open source platforms and wider technology adoption worldwide.

Tinuku Baidu and Microsoft build big data for Project Apollo

Online search engine company Baidu Inc and software company Microsoft Corp on Tuesday launched a partnership to improve the technical development and adoption of autonomous cars around the world. Collaboration became part of the Baidu initiative announced earlier this month to rally global alliances in the public platform.

Microsoft Azure's intelligent cloud computing service will be empowered by companies to build, test, deploy and manage applications as a key role to drive Apollo initiatives publicly accessible worldwide.

"Our goal for Apollo is to provide an open and powerful platform for the automotive industry to advance autonomous vehicles," said Baidu President Zhang Yaqin.

"By using Azure, our partners outside of China will have access to public clouds that are reliable, secure and allow them to focus on innovation rather than building their own cloud-based infrastructure," said Zhang.

Baidu said more than 50 companies including 13 Chinese automakers and two global car companies including Ford and Daimler, suppliers, component providers, online taxi operators such as UCAR and Grab, five top universities in China and six local governments have joined the Apollo alliance.

Microsoft has worked in automotive industry to help manufacturers absorb large amounts of data from connected vehicles. Companies like BMW, Ford, Renault-Nissan, Toyota and Volvo are interested in adopting Microsoft's intelligent cloud technology to help services such as driver assist, predictive maintenance and voice-controlled media. Baidu and Microsoft build big data for Project Apollo

Baidu and Microsoft plan to explore opportunities to deliver connected vehicle solutions and unique customer experiences aimed at transforming the autonomous drive industry digitally.

"Vehicles have impressive level of sophistication when it comes to their ability to capture data. Our artificial intelligence on global cloud supports machine learning and deep neural network capabilities," said Kevin Dallas, Vice President of Microsoft.

Other key partners who have joined the Apollo alliance include global navigation and mapping service provider TomTom, Bosch and Continental automotive parts suppliers. Baidu will also establish subsidiaries in the United States and Singapore to further expand Apollo's development.

Project Apollo has been a major competitor to Uber and Alphabet's Waymo who developed autonomous vehicles. Zhang said Baidu must move faster to realize mission and Azure's computing services have the ability to handle heavy data loads.

For Microsoft, this partnership reflects a commitment in the automotive industry. Microsoft does not build its own car, but has AI knowledge and partnerships with companies like Volvo that do not have their own car drive operating system like Apollo.

"We are not in a position to manufacture end-to-end self-driving cars," Dallas said.

Microsoft is focusing on building tools required by car companies, from data analysis to providing Cortana digital assistants on the dashboard to help the Apollo project be more friendly and more useful to manufacturers.


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