Microsoft Wants in on Autonomous Cars, Joins Chinese Giant Baidu
Microsoft may not be the most well known tech company when it comes to self-driving cars, but it hopes to change that by joining Baidu’s Apollo Project.
When it comes to technology companies competing with bonafide automakers to come out with autonomous vehicles, Microsoft doesn't come to mind. Apple and Google, though do. Apple's CEO finally admitted to working on self-driving cars in a program called Project Titan. And Google is way ahead of the game with its Waymo division that has been testing autonomous vehicles for some time now.
Can't Make Your Own Car? Join Someone That Can
Not to be outdone by the two, Microsoft wants to enter the scene with the help of a major player. According to a report by Investopedia, Microsoft wants to join Baidu, the giant Chinese Internet giant in its autonomous project.
Baidu announced its self-driving plant, which it calls "Project Apollo" earlier this month. The Chinese company's autonomous program includes hardware, software, and cloud data services for driverless vehicles. Baidu will make all of aforementioned items available to other companies and developers to be used freely. Project Apollo already has 50 members, including large automakers, automotive suppliers, startups, government departments, academic institutions, and more. With the massive program, Baidu hopes to have autonomous cars on the road in 2018.
Now, Baidu can add another name to its growing list with Microsoft's decision to get involved. Investopedia claims that Microsoft is looking into artificial intelligence (AI) to change a variety of technology, including automobiles. By joining Baidu and it's extensive list of partners, Microsoft will get access to the necessary hardware and software. And the tech company, as the outlet claims, is following Google's footsteps by encouraging companies to use Baidu's autonomous car software.
Microsoft's Taken An Interesting Path To Self-Driving Cars
Unlike the majority of technology companies, Microsoft has taken a different approach to driverless cars. In January, the tech company launched a new cloud platform for connected vehicles. The Azure-based connected car platform made an appearance at CES 2017 and was made to encourage automakers to enhance their own connected cars.
Shortly after, in February, Microsoft partnered with Tata Motors to increase cloud-based technology in the automotive industry. Microsoft then offered Toyota its connected car patents to make its vehicles even more high tech. Connected-car technology is one of Microsoft's priorities, as the tech company hopes to corner one corner of the future.
Besides focusing on connected-car technology, Microsoft also concentrates on AI. As Investopedia points out, Microsoft entered into a collaboration with Element AI, an artificial intelligence startup, through Microsoft Ventures. The Canadian startup developed a platform that other companies can utilize to implement AI into their businesses, reports the outlet.
Artificial intelligence is a new trend in the automotive industry that automakers and companies hope to use to create the next generation of smart cars. AI would allow autonomous vehicles to assess dangers and obstructed roads that lie ahead and create their own path around them. With the help of Microsoft, Baidu's autonomous vehicles will have a leg up on the competition.