Baidu, Ford Partner Up to Develop Smart Systems for Cars
Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) have teamed up to develop connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), and infotainment in smart vehicles.
China's search engine giant and the U.S. carmaker met at Baidu's headquarters in Beijing today to sign a letter of intent to cooperate across several domains in the production of smart systems for cars.
"As part of our &`#`39;In China, For China&`#`39; strategy, we look forward to working closely to offer smart products and solutions that can make people&`#`39;s lives easier and more enjoyable," president of Ford Asia Pacific, Peter Fleet, said in a statement.
The partnership deepened existing ties between the two companies. Last year, Ford joined Baidu's autonomous driving platform, Apollo, as a founding member. In the year prior, the two companies jointly financed Silicon Valley-based Velodyne, which makes a key component in self-driving cars.
With the new agreement, Ford and Baidu are planning to collaborate on developing an in-vehicle infotainment service, which would provide information and entertainment to drivers and passengers, based on Baidu's AI-powered platform. The platform, DuerOS, enables vehicle owners to command and communicate with their vehicles using features like voice and image recognition, Ford said.
The partners also said they planned to establish a joint connectivity lab for developing new cloud-based AI solutions. In addition, they are seeking to jointly explore opportunities with targeted digital marketing.
Ya-Qin Zhang, the president of Baidu, said, "Baidu and Ford share the vision of using technology to build the future of driving."
"Together, with Baidu&`#`39;s leading-edge AI technology and Ford&`#`39;s advanced engineering expertise, we will transform the mobility ecosystem and create the next-generation in-vehicle experience for consumers," he added.
Despite the news of a partnership with Ford, the stock of Baidu was trading at $244.29 per American depositary share, down nearly 3 percent intraday Wednesday.