Ford Motor, Baidu to joint test autonomous vehicles in China
Ford Motor and Chinese Internet giant Baidu announced on October 31 that two companies will jointly test autonomous vehicles in China for two years, according to Ford Motor (China) Ltd.'s official WeChat account.
Under the newly-agreed two-year initiative, Ford Motor and Baidu will join forces to develop and test autonomous vehicles in line with the Level 4 standard set by the U.S.-based industrial association SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers) on public roads. That means that the jointly-developed autonomous vehicles will be able to run on roads without human intervention in certain areas and under proper weather conditions after the development and testing are completed. The testing is slated to start by the end of 2018.
Ford Motor's engineers at the engineering R&D center in Nanjing have modified vehicles fitted with Baidu's autonomous driving system Apollo. Up until now, all yet-to-be-tested vehicles have been installed necessary autonomous driving system and software. The test will be first conducted in Beijing on the public roads approved by local authorities and will spread to other China's cities later.
Ford China and Baidu inked a strategic letter of intent on June 27 to extend in-depth cooperation in such areas as internet of vehicles (IoV), digital solutions, AI technologies and digital marketing, etc.
Based on the DuerOS, Baidu's conversational AI platform, two companies will jointly develop a range of IoV technologies, including voice recognition, natural language understanding and image recognition, to provide Ford's car owners with innovative in-vehicle infotainment system and digital services.
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