Microsoft and Baidu partner to support autonomous vehicle growth

Microsoft and Baidu partner to support autonomous vehicle growth
Azure cloud to help provide global scale for Baidu’s Apollo open platform

Toby Ingleton |

Microsoft is teaming up with Baidu to help globalise and support the technical development and adoption of autonomous driving.

A leading Chinese language internet search provider, Baidu earlier this year launched the Apollo open platform. This comprehensive solution supports all elements and functions of the autonomous vehicle, and consists of cloud services, an open software stack, and reference hardware and vehicle platforms.

The Apollo alliance was also formed to support the movement, with more than 50 companies joining to date, including Microsoft. As such, Microsoft will now provide global scale for Apollo outside China via the Azure cloud.

“We’re excited to partner with Baidu to take a giant step in helping automotive manufacturers and suppliers fully realise the promise of autonomous driving,” said Kevin Dallas, corporate vice president, Microsoft. “Today’s vehicles already have an impressive level of sophistication when it comes to their ability to capture data. By applying our global cloud artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep neural network capabilities to that data, we can accelerate the work already being done to make autonomous vehicles safer.”

McKinsey recently predicted that as many as 15% of new cars sold in 2030 will be autonomous. Partnerships such as the one Microsoft and Baidu have entered will help garner growth and ensure a solid ecosystem is in place to support the concept’s development.

“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,” said Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu. “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.”

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