Microsoft has announced an extension of its partnership with Chinese tech firm Baidu to help scale its autonomous car platform outside of China. The ultimate goal, Microsoft says, is to position Baidu's open autonomous car platform, dubbed Apollo, to take advantage of a portion of the market that it expects to make up 15 percent of new cars sold by 2030.
"We're excited to partner with Baidu to take a giant step in helping automotive manufacturers and suppliers fully realize the promise of autonomous driving," said Kevin Dallas, corporate vice president, Microsoft. "Today's vehicles already have an impressive level of sophistication when it comes to their ability to capture data. By applying our global cloud AI, machine learning, and deep neural network capabilities to that data, we can accelerate the work already being done to make autonomous vehicles safer."
Announced by Baidu in April, Apollo is an open platform that aims to tackle all of the main features needed by autonomous cars through a combination of cloud services, reference hardware, vehicle platforms, and a software stack. In addition to Microsoft, the Apollo alliances currently counts 50 partners among its ranks, including the likes of TomTom, Bosch, and more.
Outside of Baidu, Microsoft has been making strides in the car space with its own software in recent years. Most recently, Microsoft and BMW announced a partnership that will bring Skype for Business to BMW's 5 series cars. Likewise, Volvo and BMW have also expressed interest in bringing Cortana to their vehicles, while Mercedes-Benz even recently leaned on Microsoft services to create an "in-car office."
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