Microsoft Joins Baidu’s Efforts To Perfect Autonomous Tech

China’s Baidu open-source ‘Project Apollo’ initiative has received a massive boost with Microsoft jumping onboard to help further develop and perfect autonomous driving systems.

‘Project Apollo’ already consists of over 50 companies, two thirds from within China and one third outside the country, and is the world’s largest open-source initiative for self-driving technology. Some key companies involved in the project include Chinese automakers such as Chery Automobile and Great Wall Motors with global companies including Ford, Daimler, Bosch, Continental, ZF and Nvidia all involved.

Forbes reports that Microsoft will look to expand the initiative throughout the U.S. and Europe and will provide connected vehicle services for self-driving vehicles alongside Baidu.

According to Baidu’s president of technology, Ya-Qin Zhang, Project Apollo is focusing on planning, control, LiDAR, navigation, data, sensing capability control and full driverless capabilities and services in its goal of perfecting the technology.

Speaking about Microsoft’s involvement in the project, the company’s corporate vice president Kevin Dallas said “Our role is to provide global scale for Apollo outside of China with the Microsoft Azure cloud. We run in 40 regions worldwide, it is the trustworthy and secure cloud needed to ensure safety around autonomous vehicles.”

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