Ford and Baidu team up to test autonomous cars in China.

Jonah Whanau

2018-11-01 08:36:00 Thu ET

Ford and Baidu team up to test autonomous cars in China. For the next few years, Ford and Baidu plan to collaborate on the car design and user acceptance test of driverless vehicles in China.  Ford provides autonomous vehicles that fits the Baidu proprietary autonomous navigation system Apollo. On-road car tests begin to take place in 2018Q4.

Ford and Baidu both aim to achieve the U.S. SAE Level 4 standard. The U.S. SAE industry classification measures the level of *human involvement* in autonomous vehicles, and the SAE Level 4 standard stipulates that driverless vehicles can run autonomously within specific areas under the correct weather conditions. By this standard, the Ford-Baidu autonomous vehicles require no human intervention at all. Although Ford and Baidu have yet to disclose the financial terms and ownership structure details of this Sino-U.S. joint venture, the tech firms leverage innovative artificial-intelligence and wireless connectivity solutions that improve the safe and convenient passenger experiences in different environments.

Most user acceptance tests are likely to take place in China, and the ultimate Level 4 driverless vehicles will run on both Chinese and American soil. Through this core strategic partnership with Baidu, Ford can secure its competitive advantage and moat in autonomous cars in response to intense competition from Uber, Lyft, Tesla, and Waymo etc.  Autonomous vehicles remain a top long-term strategic priority for several world-class carmakers from Audi and BMW to Mercedes-Benz and Toyota.

 


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