BMW and Baidu have reportedly called off their autonomous car partnership

By : |November 21, 2016 0

BMW and Chinese search giant Baidu are reportedly ending their two years old partnership on self-driving cars. Though Chinese tech major Baidu announced last week that it had begun testing self-driving vehicles in Wuzhen but looks like its tie-up with German automaker has already fallen through.

Wang Jing, the head of autonomous car development at Baidu, told Reuters the company was now using cars from Ford’s Lincoln in its U.S. testing, declining to elaborate.

“I’m open for any partners, actually I’m talking to many,” Wang said, speaking on the sidelines of China’s third World Internet Conference in the eastern Chinese city of Wuzhen.



BMW’s China CEO Olaf Kastner reportedly told Reuters that the alliance is over because “the development pace and the ideas of the two companies are a little different.”

Baidu had been using a fleet of modified 3-series vehicles from BMW, with tests expanding to the U.S. earlier this year. However, its tests in Wuzhen are with vehicles supplied by Chinese automakers BYD, Chery and BAIC. In August, Baidu received permission to conduct similar tests in California.

BMW has said it wants to bring a self-driving car to market by 2025. Baidu was more ambitious, aiming for 2018. There were other signs too that the two companies were falling through. BMW had forged partnerships with other companies working on autonomous technology, including collision-avoidance detection firm Mobileye and chip-maker Intel.

BMW and Baidu first began collaborating in 2014. At the time, Baidu senior vice president Wang Jin said that his company would launch of a new self-driving car with the German car manufacturer by the following year. Sadly, that vehicle never materialized.

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