German premium automaker Daimler AG and China’s internet giant Baidu Inc. partner up to deepen their strategic ties in the areas of autonomous driving and vehicle connectivity.
Dailamer said on July 25 that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Baidu to deepen their partnership through the Apollo autonomous driving platform and to integrate Baidu’s vehicle connectivity services into Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX, an intelligent infotainment system.
“This era marks an optimal time for global automakers and tech companies to work together and deepen cooperation. It is my hope that this partnership will lead to more cross-industry collaboration and push forward the global automated driving industry,” said Robin Li, CEO of Baidu Inc. at the signing event.
Earlier this July, Daimler became the first international automaker to receive a road test license for highly automated driving research vehicles (level 4) in Beijing, marking a major new milestone in the firm’s local R&D efforts in China.
Daimler was among the early partners to join Apollo, Baidu’s open autonomous driving platform launched in April 2017. In December 2017, Daimler became a member of the Apollo Committee, which pursues the goal of accelerating research on safer solutions in autonomous driving in China and promoting the drafting of related laws and regulations.
The pair started their cooperation back in 2013, when projects such as Points of Interests and destination searches were jointly pulled off. In 2014, Mercedes-Benz became the first premium automaker to integrate Baidu Quanjing, the tech giant’s panoramic maps, into its automotive systems, and later brought in “Baidu Carlife”, the vehicle-smartphone integration solution, for its Mercedes-Benz models sold in China.