2019 Baidu Create AI Developer Conference — Who’s Messing With Baidu

Audiences who showed up a bit late on July 3, at the 2019 Baidu Create AI Developer Conference might have thought Robin Li, founder and CEO of Baidu has put on too much hair product when giving the opening speech of today’s event. However, it turned out that water was dumped on Li by a man who went up on the stage with a fully filled water bottle in hand.

“What’s your problem?” Robin responded with only slight change of his facial expression after a full bottle of water was emptied on top of his head, wetting his hair and shirt.

After being struck numb for a minute, he quickly regained his composure and resumed his speech. Some even thought that the act was a live demonstration of ordering Baidu‘s AI assistant, Xiaodu, to dry his clothes on stage.

Baidu CEO Robin Li at the Conference
Baidu CEO Robin Li at the Conference (source: Baidu)

“There will be all sorts of things happening on the path of AI development, but it will not waiver our determination to move forward. AI will change everyone’s life,” said Li after the incident. His words brought applause from the crowd.

This was the third edition of the annual Baidu Create AI Developer Conference. As a pioneering tech company with technology in its flesh and bones, Baidu has been categorized into the same ranks with Google, Facebook and Amazon.

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Through the AI Developer Conference, the company now aims to provide the industry with the calculations, algorithms and other innovative technologies it has accumulated over the years, contributing its valuable data resources and business ecosystem construction capabilities. It has now joined hands with companies from diverse industries, including car manufacturers like Geely and FAW group, as well as video content providers like iQiyi.

Below are a few new announcements made today at Baidu Create 2019

Baidu and Geely

Li Shufu, Chairman of Geely Holding Group, announced with Robin Li that Geely Holdings and Baidu will cooperate in the field of automobiles and transportation in terms of intelligent networking, smart driving, smart home, e-commerce and other AI technologies. The two will work together to accelerate the large-scale popularization of smart automobiles in China and take the lead in providing a global smart travel experience.

Geely Holdings and Baidu announce cooperation (source: Baidu)

“The major advances in the history of travel are accompanied by new changes brought about by cutting-edge technology for transportation. Geely has been accumulating experience for many years innovating and changing the Chinese automotive industry. Their core strength is also the current wave of smart car tech. The strategic cooperation between Baidu and Geely, focusing on AI technology empowerment, will not only bring more natural and convenient human-car interaction to users, but also accelerate the autonomous digitization of the automobile and travel industry. The pace has helped Chinese cars lead the world in the era of smart travel.” According to Robin at the event.

DuerOS 5.0 Voice Assistant

Baidu also today unveiled the DuerOS 5.0, the latest iteration of its conversational AI system. The upgrade advances the development of its AI assistant technology that powers a rapidly-expanding ecosystem of smart hardware products. Baidu also showcased three new DuerOS-powered smart speaker additions to its product lineup, further strengthening its innovative consumer electronic offerings.

(source: Baidu)

DuerOS 5.0 can integrate AI into real-world applications, introducing a new ‘full-duplex’ feature that allows Xiaodu to respond without the need for a wake word, creating a continuous conversation experience for users. Further underscoring Baidu’s pioneering vision for exceptional user experiences, DuerOS 5.0 also introduces a key feature that enables Xiaodu to recognize in sync when to reply and execute tasks and when to just listen and not to respond or react. The overall experience brings a more natural human-machine interaction.

According to Kun Jing, Vice President of Baidu and General Manager of Baidu Smart Living Group (SLG), as of June 2019, the DuerOS voice assistant installations have surpassed 400 million and monthly voice queries on DuerOS exceeded 3.6 billion.

It also came as quite a surprise that well-known Chinese actor Deng Lun also appeared at the event, trying out the new smart speaker by asking a few tricky questions like “What kind of garbage are double A batteries classified into? How much taller is Kobe Bryant compared to Sakuragi Hanamichi?” It turns out Xiaodu’s knowledge is rather abundant and keeping pace with the times.

Chinese actor Deng Lun (source: Baidu)

Safety First for Automated Driving

Emphasizing safety by design, 11 industry leaders across the automotive and automated driving technology spectrum today published “Safety First for Automated Driving” (SaFAD), a non-binding organized framework for the development, testing and validation of safe automated passenger vehicles.

These 11 leaders — Aptiv, Audi, Baidu, BMW, Continental, Daimler, FCA US LLC, HERE, Infineon, Intel and Volkswagen — comprise a broad representation of the industry and have published, to date, the largest report on how to build, test and operate a safe automated vehicle.

Baidu Apollo at the conference
Baidu Apollo at the conference (source: Baidu)

The SaFAD white paper aims to emphasize the importance of safety by design, along with verification and validation, as the industry works toward creating standards for automated driving.

For the first time, SaFAD offers automated vehicle (AV) developers and operators a system for clear traceability that proves AVs to be “safer than the average driver” through components such as cameras and steering systems.