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Daimler Deepening its Partnership with Baidu on Autonomous Driving & Vehicle Connectivity

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【Summary】The German automaker and China’s internet search giant Baidu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand their partnership through the open Apollo autonomous driving platform and to integrate Baidu’s vehicle connectivity services into Mercedes-Benz’s latest MBUX infotainment system.

Eric Walz    Jul 25, 2018 5:54 PM PT
Daimler Deepening its Partnership with Baidu on Autonomous Driving & Vehicle Connectivity
author: Eric Walz   

BEIJING — Daimler is deepening its partnership with China's Baidu on automated driving and vehicle connectivity services.

The German automaker and China's internet search giant Baidu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand their partnership through the open Apollo autonomous driving platform. Under the agreement, Baidu and Daimler will integrate Baidu's connectivity services into the Mercedes-Benz's new MBUX infotainment system, Daimler said.

"Automated driving and connectivity are progressing at an unprecedented rate in China, and our continued success depends not only on staying ahead of these trends but on leading them," Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said in a statement.

Baidu's Apollo open autonomous driving platform was launched last year in an effort to speed up the research and development of autonomous driving technology through industry collaboration.

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A Mercedes Benz van outfitted for autonomous driving in Beijing

Daimler was one of the first companies to join Baidu as a Apollo partner. Since Baidu launched Apollo in April 2017, the platform has gained over 100 industry partners who contribute expertise to the open project. Working together under Apollo, the two companies are engaged in research related to safer autonomous driving.

Baidu Chief Executive Robin Li said, "The automotive industry will evolve according to a drastically different logic, from vertical integration to a platform-based ecosystem, making now the optimal time for global automakers and tech companies to work together and deepen cooperation."

The Mercedes Benz MBUX infotainment system is a futuristic in vehicle interface for the driver which debuted on the 2018 A-Class. It includes a high-resolution widescreen display with touchscreen operation, navigation, voice controls and augmented reality technology.  

The system has the ability to learn a driver's preferences using artificial intelligence and can be individualized for each user. In addition, the system is capable of receiving over-the-air updates, so drivers always have the latest version.

Daimler is currently testing autonomous vehicles in Beijing. Earlier this month, Daimler was granted a road test license for "highly-automated driving research vehicles" in the city. With the license, Daimler becames the first international automaker permitted to test autonomous vehicles in Beijing.

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