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Ford, Baidu Sign Letter of Intent For Further Collaboration on AI, Digital Marketing

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Ford China Baidu LOI Signing

Ford and Baidu on Wednesday signed a Letter of Intent that will see the two giants jointly exploring areas for collaboration ranging from digital marketing to artificial intelligence and connectivity. Ford Asia Pacific President Peter Fleet and Baidu President Ya-Qin Zhang were on hands at Baidu headquarters in Beijing to witness the signing of the LOI by Ford Asia Pacific Director of Mobility Platforms Robert Hou and Tan Su, general manager of Baidu’s internet of vehicles division.

“Collaborating with leading technology companies such as Baidu supports our vision to become the world’s most trusted mobility company by leveraging new opportunities to build a sustainable mobility ecosystem,” said Fleet. “As part of our ‘In China, For China’ strategy, we look forward to working closely to offer smart products and solutions that can make people’s lives easier and more enjoyable.”

The agreement will in part lead to the development of new digital services and infotainment systems based on Baidu’s DuerOS conversational AI platform, which provides drivers a more intuitive voice-command experience by recognizing more natural language. Ford and Baidu will also explore Transportation Mobility Cloud integration and collaborate on effective digital marketing strategy, and the companies are looking to establish a joint connectivity lab that will further unify their respective and collective efforts.

“Baidu and Ford share the vision of using technology to build the future of driving,” said Zhang. “Together, with Baidu’s leading-edge AI technology and Ford’s advanced engineering expertise, we will transform the mobility ecosystem and create the next-generation in-vehicle experience for consumers.”

The LOI is the latest in a long line of collaborative efforts between Ford and Baidu. In July 2017, Ford was announced as a founding member of Apollo, Baidu’s open platform for autonomous driving. In August 2016, the companies made a joint $150 investment in LiDAR sensor manufacturer Velodyne.