Alliances & Acquisitions

BMW And Baidu end autonomous car partnership

Published: 19 November 2016

BMW and Baidu have called off their partnership for research on autonomous car tech. Baidu is now reportedly looking for new partners. The actual point of disagreement between the two companies is not yet clear. The senior are only saying that the companies differ in the ideologies and way of working on the autonomous car technology.

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Wang Jing, the head of autonomous car development at Baidu, reportedly said that the company was now using cars from Ford’s Lincoln in its U.S. testing, declining to elaborate.

“I’m open for any partners, actually I’m talking to many,” Wang said, speaking on the sidelines of China’s third World Internet Conference in the eastern Chinese city of Wuzhen.

The two companies decided to end the cooperation, which involved testing in the United States and China, because they held different opinions on how to proceed with research, BMW’s China CEO Olaf Kastner was reported saying at the Guangzhou auto show, which began on Friday. “We now have found that the development pace and the ideas of the two companies are a little different,” Kastner said, without specifying the exact point of disagreement.

BMW’s Kastner said the two made decisions to part ways after jointly developing the automatic overtaking capability, seeing it as a key milestone for the technology.

The German automaker plans to expand its research and development team for autonomous drive in China, Kastner said.

The two companies will continue to be partners on high-definition maps, which are a vital to the navigation of autonomous cars, he added.

Baidu is reportedly planning to manufacture autonomous cars on a big scale from 2018 and BMW plans to do so in 2021.

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