Microsoft MSFT and Baidu Inc. BIDU announced a new partnership to help drive the autonomous vehicle revolution forward on Tuesday.
Baidu, the ever-growing Chinese internet company, started a corporative alliance of companies to help grow and advance self-driving car technology called Apollo – named after the Apollo Moon landing program.
Microsoft was one of roughly 50 companies, along with Bosch BOCH and Continental, working with Baidu as part of this large-scale alliance determined to help kick start the next vehicle and travel evolution.
Now, the two companies’ more comprehensive partnership will see Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform help supply global scale and reach for Baidu’s Apollo corporative outside of China.
Baidu’s COO Qi Lu previously referred to the Apollo self-driving alliance as the “Android of the autonomous driving industry.”
Baidu announced the Apollo open platform concept to help create a massive, overarching, safe, and, dependable group dedicated to effectively bringing self-driving vehicle technology to the world.
“Our goal with Apollo is to provide an open and powerful platform to the automotive industry to further the goal of autonomous vehicles,” Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu said in a statement.
“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.”
Automotive companies such as BMW, Ford F, and Toyota TM currently work with Microsoft to utilize its cloud tech in order to help with predictive maintenance, voice-controls, and driver assistance features. Microsoft’s cloud platforms offer these car companies the ability to store massive amounts of vehicle data, analyze the information, and turn it into actionable results.
“We’re excited to partner with Baidu to take a giant step in helping automotive manufacturers and suppliers fully realize the promise of autonomous driving,” Microsoft corporate vice president, Kevin Dallas said the same statement.
“By applying our global cloud AI, machine learning, and deep neural network capabilities to that data, we can accelerate the work already being done to make autonomous vehicles safer.”
Baidu’s Microsoft partnership comes just a few weeks after the company made a deal with NVIDIA NVDA. The chipmaker is set to provide its powerful GPUs to help enhance Baidu’s AI in an effort to improve its cloud computing services, self-driving vehicle technology, and home assistance ventures.
Shares of Baidu were up 0.88% through morning trading, while Microsoft fell roughly 0.75%.
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