In 2014, two large companies BMW and Baidu announced their intention to begin joint work on the creation of autonomous vehicles in China. The main goal of Baidu company was to bring such machines to the mass market within three years from the moment of starting work. The Chinese company has already cooperated with such prominent developers of driverless vehicles like Google and Tesla. There were many rumors about Apple’s intention to participate in such developments, but so far, they have not yielded real results.
The purpose of the work of enterprises can determine the intention to produce high-grade cars that would be suitable for driving on the territory of cities without restrictions, on a par with other participants in the traffic. Joint development testing was conducted in Beijing, but the results were less impressive than Google’s work. Nevertheless, the received car is capable of being shifting to different lanes during movement and of recognizing other cars. Later, the developers said that the next step would be to cooperate with government agencies. The result of the work was to be suitable for public use; it could be not only a passenger car but also a bus.
Nowadays, the UK can be called the leader in development and investment in this area: the government financially supports the development of driverless vehicles. That is why Great Britain was considered the most promising platform for testing joint products from BMW and Baidu. Firstly, the initial main testing routes for these cars were the roads of the largest cities in China: Beijing and Shanghai. Initially, the Internet giant Baidu proposed testing the prototypes of machines in China, which would lead to the creation of a more advanced transport system. The reason BMW decided to cooperate with Baidu was the guarantee of accurate maps, through which cars could move as accurately and consistently as possible. Expansion of the memory in the ‘brains’ of cars will allow coordinating the route with a high-precision map, which is regularly updated with the help of Internet resources supported by Baidu.
Unfortunately, in 2016, it was announced that the two companies would cease cooperation. The reason for breaking the relationship was different ideas about the result of the work and the ways to achieve it. Baidu almost immediately announced that it did not intend to stop work on the project, and was actively searching for investors to continue developing.
The future plans include the testing and development of driverless vehicles in California, the USA. Baidu has already announced plans for the nearest future: by 2018, they plan to begin preparations for mass production; and by 2021 – to streamline fully the assembly of cars.
In addition, Baidu is largely interested in and is progressing in the development of artificial intelligence. As for BMW’s plans, they announced that they intend to release a full-fledged driverless vehicle by 2025. The plans of both companies go far ahead and have many goals for implementation. Developers and company heads are informing the press about all updates in work plans and achievements of goals. The same applies to mutually beneficial cooperation with other corporations. It is not excluded that the cooperation of one of the enterprises with Google or Tesla companies is coming