Baidu Signs Level 4 AV Development Deal

China’s Baidu has reached an agreement with a braking technology company to develop braking systems for Level 4 commercial AVs.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with WABCO for the development of such systems “in hub-to-hub highway applications”. They claim the project will be developed within their respective open-source software platforms, Apollo and ADOPT, through which fleet management firms and component makers will be able to access the two companies’ technologies and use them to develop their own systems.

The companies hope the first step of their collaboration will be to “combine” and “commercialize” Apollo’s “safety and redundancy” software so automotive tech companies can develop Level 4 commercial AV braking systems themselves by autumn 2021. These companies include clients of WABCO’s from the fleet and component segments, and it and Baidu are suggesting they “could either seek to leverage the existing full software stack, or select specific software modules and functionality” when developing their systems.

The move follows a raft of AV collaboration agreements that Baidu has signed with other companies in recent months. Commenting on the agreement, Baidu intelligent driving group vice president Zhenyu Li claimed: “Commercial vehicles will be the first mover in autonomous driving adoption with promising prospects of commercialization … Baidu believes the cooperation between Apollo platform and WABCO, combining the respective strengths of both parties, will help our partners minimize repetitive and basic development efforts, and eventually accelerate autonomous driving application of commercial vehicles”.


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