Ford Motor Co Teaming up with Baidu on AI-Powered Smart Cars
【Summary】U.S. carmaker Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it signed a letter of intent with China’s internet search giant Baidu to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and smart connectivity in cars.
BEIJING – Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it signed a letter of intent with China's internet search giant Baidu to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and smart connectivity in cars.
The second largest U.S. automaker said it would develop new in-vehicle infotainment systems and digital services based on Baidu's voice-interaction system DuerOS for Ford owners in China. DuerOS is a conversational AI system developed by Baidu's Duer business unit that has the ability to communicate using natural language processing (NLP).
Peter Fleet, Ford group vice president and president of Ford Asia Pacific and Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu, met at Baidu's headquarters in Beijing and witnessed the signing of the LOI between the two companies. Robert Hou, director of mobility platforms and products, Ford Asia Pacific and Tan Su, general manager of Baidu's internet of vehicles division, signed the strategic cooperation agreement on behalf of the two companies.
"Collaborating with leading technology companies such as Baidu supports our vision to become the world's most trusted mobility company by leveraging new opportunities to build a sustainable mobility ecosystem. As part of our ‘In China, For China' strategy, we look forward to working closely to offer smart products and solutions that can make people's lives easier and more enjoyable," said Peter Fleet.
The agreement aims to explore new ways to enrich the Chinese customer experience by providing smart and personalized in-vehicle infotainment and digital solutions. DuerOS will enable car owners to command and communicate with their vehicles using natural language and allow people to easily access information and services that they need in daily life, Ford said.
The two companies also are looking to establish a joint connectivity lab to investigate innovation opportunities across their automotive and mobility businesses in China, Ford released in statement. Baidu and Ford would also evaluate technologies and big data to explore opportunities related to targeted digital marketing, the U.S. automaker said.
"Together we will transform the mobility ecosystem and create the next-generation in-vehicle experience for consumers," said Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu.
This is not the first collaboration between the two companies. In 2016, Ford and Baidu jointly invest $150 million in Silicon Valley-based lidar maker Velodyne. Lidar technology is a key component in self-driving cars.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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