Baidu is preparing to launch their very own driverless services in China — and elsewhere — with another update to Apollo autonomous driving platform and the mass production of Apolong, an autonomous bus which allows up to 14 seats for people.
Baidu made this announcement at Baidu Create 2018, the company’s annual AI developer conference. Baidu has started their production of autonomous mini buses win partnership with Chinese manufacture named King Long.
These buses were being produced at King Long’s manufacturing facility in Xiamen, in southeastern China’s Fujian province.
Baidu Chairmain and the CEO Robin Li introduced while on live streaming the 100th bus rolling off from the production line to more than 6,000 attendees at Baidu Create 2018 in Beijing.
Baidu plans to open the autonomous bus services in many cities of Chinese which do includes Beijing, Shenzhen, Pingtan and Wuhan. But the company has thought of beyond China.
Baidu is partnering with the SB Drive, the autonomous driving subsidiary of SoftBank Group, to bring the autonomous mini buses into the Japan the very next year.
The autonomous buses are the Baidu’s Apollo program, which is an open source autonomous driving platform that has been working on this development for over years.
Baidu is just not interested to make the actual car—just the software that drives it. Baidu focuses on its efforts to deliver the services that includes the High skilled computing.
Baidu is betting that its tech will help support to become the China’s leading developer of self driving vehicle.
And they do want as many companies as possible to use their Apollo platform. Over 116 partners are now on the Apollo platform, which do includes new partners Jaguar Land Rover, Valeo, Byton, Leopart Imaging and Suning Logistics.
The latest updates to Apollo platform has also announced at Baidu’s developer conference which basically aims to better support the autonomous driving in geo-fenced areas.
Apollo 3.0, as it’s being called, which do includes the new features to support the valet parking, autonomous mini buses, and microcars.
They aim to update to help the dozens of their partners to deploy volumes of autonomous vehicle, not just one or two.