Partnerships / Acquisitions

Baidu Partnership Aims To Put Blackberry In The Driver’s Seat

BlackBerry, the Canadian maker of mobile devices, is teaming up with Baidu, the Chinese internet search giant, to create self-driving car technology, according to news from TechCrunch.

Through the partnership, BlackBerry’s QNX infotainment software will serve as the basis for Baidu’s Apollo self-driving platform. The project, named after NASA’s lunar landing program, consists of cloud services, an open software stack, reference hardware and vehicle platforms.

In addition to Baidu’s self-driving platform, the company’s smartphone software for in-car use, DuerOS AI assistant and HD maps will all be integrated into BlackBerry’s QNX software. BlackBerry will be able to offer key features in the Chinese market, while Baidu will be able to provide the foundation for its open self-driving software project.

A number of leading automakers and tech companies — such as Microsoft, Nvidia and Intel — are already signed up for Baidu’s Apollo platform. It has attracted over 1,700 domestic and international partners, including Daimler, Ford and Intel.

Baidu has partnered with Microsoft to drive adoption of self-driving cars around the globe. The companies, citing McKinsey, said up to 15 percent of new cars sold in 2030 will be fully autonomous.

With Chinese President Xi Jinping supporting the development of technologies like self-driving cars and electric vehicles, internet companies — such as Baidu — are becoming increasingly involved in the country’s auto industry.

Another Chinese internet company, Alibaba Group Holding, teamed up with Japanese automaker Honda to develop new services for connected cars through its AutoNavi business. The companies are planning to work on a service that allows drivers to make reservations using AutoNavi maps, as well as conduct payments — for everyday expenses such as parking and gas — with Alipay.

While Honda and AutoNavi have been partners since 2015 on multipurpose car navigation systems, the collaboration aims to utilize Alipay’s multitude of services.

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