Chinese Internet giant Baidu agreed to a strategic alliance with Geely, one of China’s largest independent carmakers, to develop and produce what is described as “intelligent” electric vehicles.
According to the announcement, the new venture will operate as an independent subsidiary of Baidu, which will have responsibility of the “entire industrial chain, from vehicle design to research and development, as well as manufacturing, sales and service.”
The new venture will leverage Geely’s new Sustainable Experience Architecture, or SEA, the company’s EV manufacturing platform, to jointly develop the next generation of intelligent vehicles.
Officials explained Baidu’s contribution to the venture will be the intelligent driving capabilities needed to guide the vehicles to be produced by the new company, while Geely will contribute its expertise in automobile manufacturing. Besides selling vehicles under its own brand, Geely also owns Volvo Cars and owns a stake in Daimler AG.
Baidu, one of the world’s wealthiest tech companies, also will support the company’s rapid growth with core technologies, including Apollo autonomous driving, DuerOS for Apollo, and Baidu Maps.
In addition, Baidu has invested heavily in artificial intelligence and eight years of experience in the intelligent transportation. the new company aims to reshape intelligent vehicle offerings and bring about a revolution in intelligent transportation.
Only last month, Baidu unveiled new intelligent vehicle solutions for automakers and several high-end intelligent driving products in China and demonstrated the Apollo Go robotaxi service it was rolling out in Beijing, Changsha, and Cangzhou.
“The transportation industry and automobile industry are undergoing a once-in-a-century transformation,” said Zhenyu Li, corporate vice president of Baidu and general manager of Intelligent Driving Group, during the conference.
“With its focus on ‘intelligence’, Apollo is helping automakers to build good cars and governments to build good roads through intelligent transformation.”
The partners are jumping into an arena that’s already filling up with competitors, including in China. E-commerce giant Alibaba is teaming with Geely competitor SAIC to produce electric vehicles. Additionally, Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing partnered with BYD to make electric vehicles specifically designed for ride-hailing services.
The establishment of the new intelligent EV company with Geely represents the ultimate deployment of AI technology and an important strategic framework for the future of intelligent transportation, Baidu said this week.