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Baidu Announces Autonomous Cars Project ‘Apollo’

Baidu, the largest Internet company with the largest search portal in China, will release its autonomous car for the first time in July.

Baidu revealed it will introduce automotive technology with self-propelled functions in a limited environment in July this year. The announcement said, “Once the technology is introduced that allows limited autonomous driving, we will gradually introduce autonomous vehicles that can be driven on expressways or city streets gradually by 2020.”

The name of the current Baidu project for the development of autonomous vehicles is Apollo, the name used in past US moon landing programs. To this end, Baidu has developed its own technology, while supplying automobiles, image sensors, and other components from other partners.

In January of this year, Baidu also strengthened the AI division by recruiting Dr. Lu Qi, the former senior vice president of applications and services at Microsoft, as Chief Operating Officer(COO). In October of last year, the company raised $200 million to develop AI, Augmented Reality (AR), and deep learning technologies. “AI will have the greatest opportunity in autonomous vehicles,” Dr. Lu Qi said.

Baidu, which has been developing autonomous vehicles in cooperation with BMW of Germany, broke down in November last year due to differences in opinions and process issues and turned to self-development.

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