Baidu is hoping to take its autonomous car project to the next level through a partnership with high performance chip maker Nvidia.
Baidu CEO Robin Li and Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang spoke together on stage at a Baidu event in Beijing last week. According to a blog post by NVIDIA, Baidu will contribute their cloud platform and mapping technology while NVIDIA will offer their self-driving computing platform and HD mapping solutions.
The partnership also renews the Chinese search engine’s competitive edge against local internet firm LeEco, which has been working on a similar cloud-based ecosystem for autonomous cars.
“We’re going to bring together the technical capabilities and the expertise in AI and the scale of two world-class AI companies to build the self-driving car architecture from end-to-end,” said NVIDIA in the blog post.
Together, the pair are hoping to develop autonomous parking and ‘level three’ autonomous vehicle control, which is the last level before fully autonomous (there are five levels all together).
Baidu has been rapidly expanding their testing grounds for autonomous cars both locally and abroad. The tech giant plans to establish ten local testing locations in China by the end of the year (current locations include Beijing, Wuzhen and Wuhu cities). Baidu recently received the go ahead from motor vehicle authorities in the U.S. to test vehicles alongside Google’s autonomous cars in California.
It’s not the first time Baidu and Nvidia have joined forces. According to Nvidia, the chip company has contributed components for other projects undertaken by Baidu’s artificial intelligence research unit, which is headed by Andrew Ng and based in the U.S.
Baidu recently joined automaker Ford to invest $150 million USD in detection technology for autonomous cars by Velodyne LiDAR Inc., as they continue to leverage partnerships in their goal to sell fully autonomous cars by 2018.