(Yicai Global) Sept. 13 -- Baidu Online Network Technology Co., a subsidiary of Chinese search and internet giant Baidu Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU] has teamed up with global auto parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen AG, also known as ZF Group, to develop autonomous driving technology.
The pair signed a strategic cooperation agreement on Sept. 12 in Frankfurt, Germany. Both will fully cooperate in autonomous driving, the Internet of Vehicles and mobile travel services, and develop a sophisticated solution to autonomous driving in China.
“The challenge in widely applying autonomous driving technology is figuring out how to implement industrial structure changes and innovatively combining technologies,” Wu Xuebin, vice president of Baidu, told Yicai Global. “Cooperation is a key approach to accelerating the popularization and commercialization of autonomous driving.”
The partnership will allow ZF Group to benefit from Baidu’s strength in artificial intelligence, Big Data, cloud computing and high-precision maps, which are essential for developing autonomous driving technology, said Stefan Sommer, the group’s chief executive. In return, ZF Group’s vehicle control system, the ZF ProAI, can integrate with car communication systems to provide customers with a one-stop solution.
ZF Group is a global supplier of transmission, chassis and safety technologies. It runs about 230 manufacturing basis across 40 countries and had sales worth EUR35.2 billion (USD42.2 billion) last year.
Technically speaking, driverless cars are coming soon, said Zhang Zhiyong, an automobile expert. However, for legal reasons, the market will not take shape in the near future. The parts related to autonomous driving will be added to cars bit by bit, and the market for parts will form sooner than the market for cars.