Volvo Cars and Chinese internet giant Baidu have announced a partnership to develop and mass manufacture fully electric and autonomous vehicles.
The collaboration will see the two companies pool resources and expertise to help create a future for self-driving cars in China, which is expected to be the single largest market for autonomous cars in the coming decades.
Baidu, which is often referred to as the ‘Google of China’, has already been developing its own autonomous driving platform called Apollo and will continue its research with the aid of Volvo’s car industry experience and technologies.
Volvo Cars is the first foreign car maker to collaborate this closely with Baidu and it is understood the car company was selected as a partner due to its long-standing safety credentials.
“Since its founding a century ago, Volvo has kept safety as its core mission, pushing safety development forward with significant innovations. We are very glad that Volvo Cars has established a strategic partnership with Baidu in the development of a fully autonomous car compatible with our autonomous driving platform, Apollo. We look forward to working closely with Volvo to provide the world with the safest auto products for the benefit of humankind,” said Dr Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu.
The self-driving cars will be produced for the Chinese market where an estimated 14.5 million units will be sold by 2040. It plays into Volvo Cars’s ambition to be a global mobility provider and sees this partnership as a key part of its strategy.
“With Baidu we take a big step forward in commercializing our autonomous-compatible cars, built on Volvo’s industry-leading safety technology,” said Håkan Samuelsson (above), president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.
“There is a strong development in autonomous drive in China, where Baidu is a leading player, and the market there offers huge opportunities for us as the supplier of choice for autonomous fleets.”