Like many big technology companies, Chinese giant Baidu has been working on self-driving cars for a few years now, even investing with Ford in LIDAR sensor company Velodyne. Collaborations between tech firms and carmakers are now commonplace, but after an unsuccessful marriage with BMW, Baidu is seeking new partners — or rather, all the partners. In a project Baidu calls “Apollo,” the company is offering up its whole self-driving platform to the wider industry, from software to reference vehicles, to give the general pursuit of autonomous cars a NOS-like boost.
From July, Baidu says it’ll begin sharing more and more of what it’s been developing in-house. The company claims its particular strong suit is employing AI to solve the self-driving puzzle, but the Apollo project will offer a complete “solution.” That includes vehicles, other hardware like sensors, software, cloud services and all kinds of code, as well as testing tools. It’s not just about what Baidu can provide others, though, as the firm is hoping that allies will also help the project out with improved vehicles and components. “This will lower the barriers to entry for research and development of autonomous driving technologies, making it more accessible to the general public, and accelerate the overall pace of innovation,” Baidu’s release reads.