Volvo, Baidu Partner for Chinese AVs

Volvo, Baidu Partner for Chinese AVs

Volvo is partnering with Chinese tech giant Baidu to develop and mass-produce electric autonomous vehicles for that country.

The company claims this makes it the first non-Chinese automaker “to collaborate this closely with Baidu” on AV development. It also says it will enable “both companies to develop and sell these vehicles to potential Chinese customers”. However, Baidu has recently forged developmental partnerships with Ford and BMW for AVs.

Volvo says the partnership will take the form of the two companies “pool[ing] resources”. Specifically, it names these “resources” as Apollo, Baidu’s open-source AV platform, and its own “industry-leading safety technology”.

Volvo Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson said: “There is a strong development in autonomous drive in China, where Baidu is a leading player, and the market there offers huge opportunities for us as the supplier of choice for autonomous fleets”. Baidu president Ya-Qin Zhang added: “We look forward to working closely with Volvo to provide the world with the safest auto products for the benefit of humankind”.

The announcement coincided with Samuelsson’s disclosure to the Financial Times that Volvo will start shipping cars to Uber for autonomous deployment next year. The two companies have an existing partnership for AV testing in place but that testing has been suspended since March when an Uber Volvo AV killed cyclist Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona.

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