Baidu just announced the second version of its Apollo open-source autonomous driving platform at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) today in Las Vegas.
The Apollo program was launched as an open-source platform for other automakers to develop their self-driving systems and help accelerate the development self-driving technologies.
Baidu released the second version of Apollo soon after the launch of the platform last July— which yet again shows the Chinese search engine giant’s determination to speed up the development of autonomous driving technologies. “Apollo is an example of ‘China Speed’, demonstrating the rapid pace of China’s innovations and development in the global autonomous driving industry,” said Qi Lu, Group President and COO of Baidu, on stage at CES.
Apollo 2.0 showcases more HD mapping services, cheaper sensor package requirements, and full support for four computing platforms: Intel, NXP, Nvidia, and Renesas. Another key update for the software is that it enables vehicles to drive autonomously on simple urban streets. AutonomouStuff, one of Baidu’s US-based partners, has said that the new version of the software allowed their test vehicles to drive autonomously on roads during both day and night.
Baidu said it already has over 90 partners in the Apollo project, including Ford, Nvidia, Bosch, TomTom, and Hyundai. These partners offer Baidu access to technology and data, which allows the software to quickly adjust and adapt to the autonomous driving ecosystem. “Open platforms and ecosystems are the best way to accelerate the transition of AI technologies toward commercialization,” said Lu. Baidu also claims to have amassed over 165,000 lines of code, with approximately 65,000 new lines added by developers each quarter.
Baidu also announced a partnership with Udacity, the online education platform, onstage at its CES press conference. The two will collaborate on a couple of projects including building introductory courses to the Apollo platform, offering hands-on learning opportunities through software and simulation environment.