Ford & Baidu collaborate to develop self-driving cars: Level 4 autonomy tests to begin by year-end

Besides collaborating with Ford Motor Company, Baidu also made an announcement about joining forces with Volvo Cars to develop 'robotaxis' in China. The two aim to manufacturer Level 4 robotaxis in China after 2020.

By:Published: November 1, 2018 6:11:25 PM
ford baidu self driving car chinaFord Motor Co. and Baidu will collaborate on a two-year autonomous vehicle test project with on-road testing.

Ford Motor Company and Baidu have joined hands to develop self-driving cars in China. The American car manufacturer and Chinese Internet search leader Baidu will begin testing of the vehicles in Beijing by the end of this year. The two have said that the aim is to achieve higher autonomous driving technology at level 4 in two years. Baidu has been pursuing to match Alaphabet Inc.’s progress in autonomous driving through Waymo.

The self-driving cars that come from the Ford-Baidu collaboration will be tested on public roads in Beijing and will eventually be extended to other cities in China. The autonomous cars will be built at Ford’s R&D centre in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province and will be fitted with Baidu’s self-driving software.

The pilot project will aim to build vehicles that operate completely autonomously in a limited area, under pre-described conditions – the fourth level of the five levels of autonomous driving standards set by U.S. industry organization SAE International.

The race towards developing an impeccable self-driving system that actually works in the real world has caught on over the past couple of years. Automobile giants like Toyota and General Motors are pumping huge investments into self-driving tech.

Video: Self-driving vehicles that will soon deliver your groceries

Besides collaborating with Ford Motor Company, Baidu also made an announcement about joining forces with Volvo Cars to develop ‘robotaxis’ in China, according to a Bloomberg report. The two aim to manufacturer Level 4 robotaxis in China after 2020.

China is the world’s largest auto market and is also expected to play a dominant role in the global market for self-driving cars. The mainland’s autonomous vehicle market could be worth $500 billion by 2030, according to McKinsey & Co. Volvo said it expects to generate one-third of annual sales from autonomous cars from around 2025.

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