Microsoft partners with Baidu for the ‘Android of autonomous cars’

Microsoft is partnering with Baidu for the company’s Apollo self-driving car platforms. Along with Microsoft, Baidu is partnering with 49 other companies for Apollo, including the likes of Intel, NVIDIA, and Ford. At the moment, there are not a lot of details available regarding Baidu’s partnerships with Microsoft and others. But the project is very ambitious from the looks of things.

Baidu wants Apollo to effectively be the “Android autonomous driving industry” — but “more open and more powerful.” In a statement, the Chinese search giant’s Chief Operating Officer, Qi Lu, said that the Apollo platform isn’t only Baidu’s at its A.I. developer conference Create. “It belongs to everyone in the ecosystem,” added Lu. Here’s the statement:

“Apollo is an important milestone for the automotive industry. It is in essence the ‘Android’ of the autonomous driving industry, but more open and more powerful. Apollo is not solely Baidu’s. It belongs to everyone in the ecosystem. And as we and our partners contribute to the platform in our areas of specialty, we all gain more, with the results far greater than just our own.”

It’s important to note that Qi Lu was a former Executive Vice President at Microsoft, leading some of the company’s biggest consumer products such as Bing and Office. Lu left Microsoft late last year due to health-related issues, but he later joined Baidu just 4 months after leaving Redmond.

Microsoft isn’t revealing much about its partnership with Baidu as of yet. In a statement to MSPoweruser, a spokesperson said the company is “excited to join the open Apollo ecosystem” but the details of the partnership will be shared soon. While Microsoft doesn’t have any plans on building its own self-driving car, the software giant could be working with Baidu to integrate some of the facilities from its Connected Vehicle Platform into Apollo, along with things like Cortana.

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