Baidu and Microsoft announces partnership to bring Apollo autonomous driving platform outside China

Earlier this month, we reported that Microsoft is joining Baidu’s Apollo autonomous driving platform. Microsoft today officially announced this partnership with more details. Microsoft and Baidu will take the technical development and adoption of Apollo alliance autonomous driving platform outside of China with the power of Azure cloud.

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.”

“We are excited to have Microsoft as part of the Apollo alliance. Our goal with Apollo is to provide an open and powerful platform to the automotive industry to further the goal of autonomous vehicles,” said Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu. “By using Azure, our partners outside of China will have access to a trustworthy and secure public cloud, enabling them to focus on innovating instead of building their own cloud-based infrastructure.”

This is not a big deal in my opinion as other cloud vendors like Amazon may soon announce such partnership as Apollo is an open platform. But Microsoft will be able to enjoy first-mover advantage. Also, Microsoft already has been working with many automotive industry leaders like BMW, Ford, Renault-Nissan, Toyota and Volvo. These companies will be able to adopt Apollo platform with minimal work as they are already working with Azure.

Microsoft also mentioned that they will plan to explore opportunities to deliver connected vehicle solutions and unique customer experiences that aim to digitally transform the autonomous driving industry.

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