(Yicai Global) Sept. 21 -- China's search engine giant Baidu, Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU] unveiled an upgraded version of its automatic driving software development platform, Apollo. The company also introduced an automatic driving fund program of up to CNY10 billion (USD1.51 billion).
Baidu released Apollo 1.5 and announced the Apollo fund program at a press conference yesterday. Under the program, Baidu plans to invest USD1.51 billion in more than 100 projects within three years. It will be the world's biggest fund dedicated to automatic driving, sohu.com reported.
The Apollo 1.5 platform will include five core functions, namely, obstacle perception, decision-making planning, cloud simulation, high-precision map service, and deep-learning, said Li Zhenyu, general manager of Baidu's Intelligent Driving Group (IDG). Automatic driving vehicles developed based on this platform will be capable of precisely identifying obstacles at night when the visibility is poor.
Baidu unveiled Apollo 1.0 at the AI developer conference on July 5, 2017. Since then, the number of partners of this platform has increased from 50 to 70 in less than three months, and 65,000 lines of codes have been added. To date, more than 1,300 users have downloaded and used open-source codes from the platform.
At the press conference, Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co. also presented the first automatic driving commercial bus developed based on Apollo 1.0. The product has been put into testing, the firm said.