Baidu and BMW have decided to put a stop to their joint efforts of developing a self-driving car model as reports pointed towards research and future differences in opinion.
The joint project was initially announced last June and saw the Chinese Internet conglomerate performing driving tests with the use of 3 BMW cars.
The German automaker’s sedans had been used in on-road tests for the self-driving software in China, with the United States tests being planned for later on.
Following the decision to end the agreement, Baidu will now be looking for a new partner so as to continue and move along testing.
According to a company official, Baidu is currently using Ford Lincoln vehicle models so as to move along its United States tests.
Baidu is no stranger to the American car-making market or players. The company is one of the investors in Velodyne, the LIDAR sensors making company. The LIDAR sensors are essential elements in the functioning of autonomous vehicle navigation.
As Chinese Baidu is now utilizing Ford cars, a potential future alliance could come with benefits for both of the involved parties.
Ford has already announced its plans of releasing, by 2012, self—driving cars on the public roads with the help of a ride-sharing service.
According to an interview with Olaf Kastner, the CEO of BMW China, the Baidu and BMW agreement was dissolved after the two failed to agree on future plans.
Kastner explained that the two involved parties disagreed on the next steps of the research process and project. Baidu and BMW reached the conclusion that they had different views in relation to the development pace and ideas.
Although the chief executive did not wish to go into details about the differences and the decision to cancel the agreement, he did reveal the stage reached by the collaboration.
The two companies had already developed the automatic overtaking technology, which is considered to be a milestone in the area.
Automatic overtaking technology is the name given to the autonomous vehicle’s ability of passing other cars at more than just one speed.
It is also one of the important elements which have to be taken into consideration before releasing self-driving cars on the public roads.
Although the self-driving car concept and development agreement had reached a standstill and has now dissolved, a collaboration between the two will still exist.
Baidu and BMW will be continuing to work together in their mixed efforts of developing high-definition maps.
Such highly detailed, very accurate maps will be a vital element in the working of autonomous vehicles and their navigation system.
As Baidu plans on offering self-driving, autonomous cars within the next two years’ time, it has made its first step in that direction.
In August this year, Baidu revealed the Chery EQ, a self-driving vehicle which is significantly smaller than the EV. The vehicle has an autonomy of 120 miles before it has to be recharged.
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