Baidu announces $1.5 billion fund for self driving cars


Chinese internet giant Baidu announced a $1.5 billion investment on September 21, slated for autonomous driving projects over the next three years.

Earlier, the Chinese tech firm has announced its development in different branches of technology; artificial intelligence, cloud data, etc. But today, the company plans to invest the fund in 100 autonomous driving projects called the Apollo Fund, named after its open-source autonomous driving platform.

Though Baidu's search engine dominates the Chinese internet, and online ads are a key revenue stream, Baidu hopes to be the first to develop a vehicle capable of driving itself via powerful software and sensors.

Baidu launched an initial version of an open-source autonomous driving platform known as Apollo in July. The response was overwhelming with nearly 100 companies applying for open data via the Apollo website.The company says it has signed more than 50 cooperation agreements with Apollo partners on mass production or joint product development plans.

Baidu announced a new version of the platform, Apollo 1.5, that enables cars to perform autonomous driving capabilities in designated lanes, perfectly recognizing obstacles and passengers, and making optimal driving decisions even at night.





Photo by: Kentaro IEMOTO via flickr