POSTED BY ANGUS GEDDES
Baidu the top Chinese internet search firm, has formed a broad alliance to promote self-driving cars, pitting its Apollo platform against Alphabet Inc’s system, the company reported on Wednesday. Baidu is aiming to have driverless vehicles on the road in China by 2019. The alliance includes partnerships with automakers, suppliers, startups, universities and local governments and is built around the company’s Apollo self-driving platform, which was developed at its tech center in California’s Silicon Valley. Apollo is aimed at competing directly with Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving package.
Among the key development partners on Apollo are Nvidia Corp, which specializes in microprocessors and artificial intelligence, and mapping expert TomTom NV. Baidu rose 2.3 percent to $184.15. Baidu said at a briefing in Beijing it is partnering with five Chinese vehicle manufacturers, including Chery Automobile, BAIC Motor, FAW Group Corp, Chongqing Changan Automobile, and Great Wall Motor. All but Great Wall are state-owned. Baidu is a cornerstone position in the Fat Prophets Global Contrarian Fund and the Global and US Managed Account Portfolios. Baidu seems destined to secure China’s driverless car market in what is going to be a powerful revenue driver over the next decade.