Google’s nightmare that Chinese Internet giant Baidu may surpass it in self-driving has come true, China News reported on Feb. 8.
A self-driving car developed by Baidu
About three years ago, Google not only worried about Uber’s self-driving technology, it also worried about Chinese tech giant Baidu, according to Google’s internal e-mails exposed in the lawsuit filed by Waymo, the Google self-driving project, against Uber for patent infringement and stealing trade secrets.
Foreign media reported that in an email sent by Chris Urmson, former head of Google’s driverless car program, to Google’s founder, the head said that for the past six months they were no longer pursing victory, but trying to slow the rate of decline.
Moreover, Google’s top executive Dmitri Dolgov mentioned in an email that Google’s competitiveness was on the decline in the face of Chinese enterprises such as Baidu, reminding Google to take the challenge seriously.
However, it seems that Google did not pay much attention to challenges from Baidu or its other rivals judging from its performance in recent years.
By contrast, in 2017, Baidu launched its autonomous driving platform Apollo. Apollo is the first of its kind in the world and a great achievement in the self-driving industry.
The platform now has over 80 partners, including field leaders Bosch, Microsoft, and Blackberry, and the number still keeps rising.
Apparently, the remaining three years did not stop the rise of Baidu’s self-driving technology, and Apollo has now become “big trouble” for Google.
Baidu, as one of China’s first technology companies to explore artificial intelligence and self-driving, was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the top four AI giants in the world. Its Apollo platform can provide developers with self-driving capabilities such as perception, route planning, and vehicle control via API or SDK.
In addition, Baidu’s self-driving technologies have the support of the Chinese government.
Forbes also pointed out in its article that Western self-driving companies are less likely to make a difference in China, but Baidu, with its unique algorithm, good business partners, and enormous support from the government, has a chance to overcome Google in self-driving.