She said a company Chinese search giant (Baidu) Baidu on Monday: It is heading to establish a company to partner with a company (Geely) car maker to make smart electric cars, the latest step for the technology company in the rapidly developing sector.
Baidu, which is developing autonomous driving technology and infrastructure for an Internet connection, said: The new electric vehicle company relies on Baidu’s smart driving capabilities and Geely’s automotive manufacturing expertise.
Baidu explained that Geely will also be a strategic investor in the new company, which will be an independent subsidiary of Baidu.
Reuters reported that Baidu’s plan to form a smart electric car company with the help of Geely last week.
Sources told Reuters: that Baidu has an absolute majority stake in the new company, and that Geely will have a minority stake.
Geely said in a separate statement on Monday: The cooperation is based on Geely’s platform that focuses on electric cars.
Baidu’s move comes at a time when many technology companies around the world are racing to develop smart cars, after Tesla Inc’s success in marketing electric vehicles.
The sources told Reuters last month that Apple was seeking to design an electric car and batteries, with the goal of a possible launch in 2024.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has set up an electric vehicle joint venture with China’s major auto maker SAIC Motor, while China’s Didi Chuxing manufactures electric vehicles designed for ride-hailing services with BYD Auto.
Baidu set up the Apollo Autonomous Driving Unit in 2017, and the unit provides AI-powered technology and works with automakers such as Geely, Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford.
Baidu operates the independent Go Robotaxi taxi service with safety drivers on board in Beijing, Changsha and Cangzhou, and plans to expand to 30 cities within three years.
The company won approval last week to test five cars in Beijing without safety drivers.
Baidu’s automaker’s plan is likely to promote the concept of software-defined vehicles, However, the success of Baidu’s auto industry also depends on government policy support, equipment cost reduction, and customer demand.
And all automakers need to transform themselves into more technology-oriented companies because smart connectivity plays a much more important role.