Launched from Cnet, Baidu announced it has established partnerships with about 50 different companies to promote its Apollo propulsion platform.
The group includes Nvidia, TomTom, Bosch, Daimler and Ford, as well as Chinese car manufacturers such as Chery and BAIC Motor.
Just like Waymo, his main competitor, Baidu does not want to build his own car. Instead, Baidu wants to build a package of hardware and software that will support self-driving cars from other manufacturers.
Building a car from the ground up is an expensive business worth billions of dollars, and it never guarantees fruitful success. This is what makes suppliers make decisions with extra caution.
That's where Apollo comes in. The program, named after the US space program, wants to present an open source system for the development of self-propelled cars.
Apollo wants to give developers the tools it needs to help bring autonomous cars to the market, including data, APIs and high-resolution maps. Baidu's COO calls Apollo an "Android autonomous booster industry."
Companies that use Apollo will not be able to get vehicles on public roads first. Beginning later this month, Baidu hopes to open a technology that lets developers test their cars in very specific and limited areas.
According to the timeline on its website, this limited test will be extended to "modest urban road conditions" in December. Furthermore, with the proper use of public roads by 2020.
This is contrary to Waymo's strategy. While the two technology companies have open partnerships with a number of suppliers and automakers, Waymo's development takes place behind closed doors.
Looking at the two companies hoping to get their system operated on the road in the next 5 to 10 years, it will not be too long before we can begin to think about which approach is better.