BMW And Baidu Cease Research And Business Partnership; Reason And Details Are Here!
One of the top of the line car manufacturing company, BMW and Baidu have ended their joint research project on the development of self-driving car technology, leaving the Chinese search giant searching for a new global partner.
The partnership between the two companies started almost a year ago, when it was also announced that Baidu just completed the first successful tests of its self-driving technology using a revamped BMW 3 Series vehicle.
Olaf Kastner, the CEO of BMW China, revealed that the two companies had a disagreement on how they would proceed with the research project.
According to Kastner, BMW discovered that there are differences in the ideas and preferred pace of development between the two companies. Kastner did not state any specifics regarding the disagreements, but he did say that the breakup between BMW and Baidu happened after the partnership was able to develop automatic overtaking technology that would allow self-driving cars to pass other vehicles on the road.
BMW and Baidu are not completely ending their relationship with each other though, as the companies will continue to work together on the creation of high-definition maps that are important to the navigation functions of self-driving cars.
Baidu's head of self-driving car development and senior VP Wang Jing said that the company is now using vehicles from Ford's Lincoln unit in testing operations in the United States, though no further details were revealed.
"I'm open for any partners, actually I'm talking to many," said Wang. No names of potential partners have been revealed, but Baidu will need to team up with another company very soon if it wants to achieve the milestones that it has previously set regarding self-driving technology.
On the previous year, Baidu set the goal of being able to get self-driving buses using the company's technology on Chinese roads by 2018, with the vehicles to operate along fixed routes or within fixed areas.
Earlier this year in June, Wang confirmed Baidu's goal of launching mass production for self-driving cars by 2021. The goal has drawn skepticism from several automakers, which believe that the technology should be approached by first developing and implementing improvements to driver assistance features.
The departure of BMW from the research project on the technology is a setback. However, the Chinese company will likely find a way to get back on track.