The US-based automotive giant, Ford, and Chinese internet company, Baidu, has announced plans to launch a joint venture that will see the two firms collaborate to test autonomous vehicles in China for two years, CNBC reports.
The agreement will see the two companies team up to develop and test driverless vehicles that meet the Level 4 standard ordered by US industry organisation, SAE International.
In a statement on Wednesday (31 October), Sherif Marakby, President and CEO of Ford's autonomous vehicles unit said: “Working with a leading tech partner like Baidu allows us to leverage new opportunities in China to offer innovative solutions that improve safety, convenience and the overall mobility experience.”
“This project marks a new milestone in the partnership between Ford and Baidu, and supports Ford's vision to design smart vehicles that transform how we get around.”
With Ford’s self-driving vehicles already kitted out with Baidu’s autonomous driving system, Apollo, the on-road testing of the driverless vehicles is expected to start by the end of 2018.
“Baidu and Ford both believe in using technology to redefine the future of mobility” Zhenyu Li, Vice President and General Manager of Baidu's intelligent driving group.
“This project will combine our leading-edge technological know-how and understanding of China together with Ford's vehicle expertise, marking a significant step forward towards Baidu's goal of developing autonomous driving vehicles that will greatly benefit future consumers.”
The companies are yet to confirm the financial terms or ownership structure details of the collaboration.