Speculated Partnership Between Baidu and Tesla Gains Further Traction

On May 15, Xu Baoqiang, the General Manager of Baidu‘s Autonomous Driving Technology Department, expressed interest in exploring opportunities for collaboration with Tesla’s forthcoming Robotaxi service. This potential partnership will be contingent upon the specifics of Tesla’s application model and its strategy for penetrating the Chinese market.

Earlier, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, disclosed a plan to launch Robotaxi, a self-driving taxi service, by August 8, 2024. He further revealed that Tesla’s next-generation automobile platform would encompass more affordable vehicles and fully autonomous taxis.

In late April, reports emerged suggesting that Tesla was set to overcome significant hurdles in implementing advanced assisted driving features in China. This progress was largely attributed to a partnership with Baidu, focusing on enhancing map and navigation functionalities.

Musk’s unexpected visit to China on April 28 sparked further speculation about the acceleration of autonomous driving technology in the country. Following his visit, Tesla’s official Weibo account posted updates hinting at the rapid advancement of self-driving technology.

Among the maps approved by the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources, a lane-level map, designated as GS (2023) 4634, was submitted by Baidu Zhitu Technology Co., Ltd. This map, specifically designed for advanced assisted driving, represents a significant milestone in the “exclusive” and deeply customized partnership between Tesla and Baidu.

Musk also shed light on the choice of the launch date for Tesla’s Robotaxi service. He explained that August 8 was chosen not only because it is considered a lucky number in China but also because it coincides with the 17th birthday of his triplets.

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