Baidu-Ford L4 Autonomous Vehicle Test Project Announced
Ford Motor Company and Baidu have reached an agreement on a two-year joint autonomous vehicle test project. The Baidu-Ford L4 Autonomous Vehicle Test Project will help proliferate the advance of Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology of China, leveraging the Ford and Baidu’s respective assets toward a shared vision of building “smart vehicles for a smart world.”
“Working with a leading tech partner like Baidu allows us to leverage new opportunities in China to offer innovative solutions that improve safety, convenience, and the overall mobility experience,” said Sherif Marakby, president and CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC. “This project marks a new milestone in the partnership between Ford and Baidu and supports Ford’s vision to design smart vehicles that transform how we get around.”
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The newly minted Baidu-Ford L4 Autonomous Vehicle Test Project will pick up on-road testing of self-driving by the end of 2018. Testing is set to take place in Beijing on roads designated fit for AV testing, but Ford and Baidu are investigating the possibility of testing in additional cities down the road. Prior to that, Ford engineers from the Nanjing Research and Engineering Center converted vehicles to Autonomous Vehicle Platforms so that they will work within Baidu’s Virtual Driver System.
Ford’s partnership with Baidu is a long-standing one: The company was a founding member of the Apollo Committee, and Marakby serves as a member of the board. Ford and Baidu signed a letter of intent in June to collaborate together in the fields of artificial intelligence and digital marketing.
“This project will combine our leading-edge technological know-how and understanding of China together with Ford’s vehicle expertise, marking a significant step forward towards Baidu’s goal of developing autonomous driving vehicles that will greatly benefit future consumers,” said Zhenyu Li, Vice President and General Manager of Baidu’s Intelligent Driving Group.
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