Baidu announces $1.5B fund for self-driving car startups

By : |September 22, 2017 0

Chinese search engine giant Baidu has announced a $1.5 billion fund, named the Apollo Fund, to back autonomous driving tech startups. The plan is to invest in over 100 projects as Baidu seeks to enhance the self-driving car tech it started working on in 2014.

Baidu also released the latest version of its autonomous driving platform, Apollo 1.5, with five new core capabilities: obstacle perception, planning, cloud simulation, high-definition (HD) maps and end-to-end deep learning.

First announced in April, Apollo is an open platform that provides a comprehensive, secure, and reliable all-in-one solution that supports all major features and functions of an autonomous vehicle. It claims over 70 partners presently including Hyundai, Bosch, Continental, Nvidia, Microsoft Cloud, Velodyne, TomTom, UCAR and Grab.

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More than 1,300 companies have downloaded Apollo source code, Baidu says, and nearly 100 companies have applied for open data via the Apollo website.

Baidu is among the several tech companies trying to advance autonomous driving technology. While Waymo recently revealed that it’s working with Intel to power its autonomous driving platform; last week, Samsung too announced a $300 million fund that will invest in the connected car and autonomous technologies.

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