Baidu and Microsoft to Work on Project ‘Apollo’
The fact that Microsoft’s Azure Cloud is working along with the Baidu’s Apollo Self Driving Platform Alliance is a known fact.
However, now Microsoft has provided more details about the cross industry partnership between the two companies. Microsoft will be providing cloud infrastructure services via its Azure. The service will be given to the customers that are based out of China, and are looking to adopt the Apollo system. Baidu describes the Apollo system as the ‘Android of the autonomous cars driving industry’.
Baidu has knowingly named the program Apollo, keeping the original lunar landing program as the inspiration. This has been done because of the similarity of scale for the cross-industry cooperation which will be required for bringing autonomous driving to the masses.
The collaboration will offer cloud services, open software, reference vehicles, sensors and computing hardware for the smooth roll out of the Apollo.
For now, the alliance has some of the top industry players, such as Bosche, Continental, Nvidia, mapping company TomTom, Uber’s competitor Grab and now, Microsoft.
Microsoft has been aggressive in finding and working out on the partnerships in the rapidly growing automotive and autonomous cloud services space. It is currently working with Toyota, BMW, Volvo, Ford, and Renault-Nissan over a wide range of different projects.
The work with Baidu over Apollo will further add more OEM partners to the existing list.
Using staged releases, Apollo will be released for the automakers and developers. This will include access to self-driving tech too. Baidu wishes to deploy a platform that can handle autonomous vehicles in both highway and urban spaces by the end of 2020. However, this does seem overly ambitious for a project that is barely in the nascent stage. Although this is somehow in line with the expectations of leading automakers.