If you are like most people, you probably assume that Google's Waymo, Uber, Tesla, or some other American-based organization will be the first to unveil a market- and road-ready autonomous vehicle to the greater public. However, thanks to a blockbuster announcement from Chinese search giant Baidu at its inaugural Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Developer Conference in Beijing, the reigns of power could soon be shifting away from Silicon Valley and moving toward the Far East.
So just what did Baidu announce at its new annual A.I. conference that has the rest of the world taking note? According to Meng Jing of the South China Morning Post, the big news that has placed Baidu firmly in a position of power in terms of the race toward functioning driverless vehicles comes in the form of a massive alliance that transcends both geographical and industrial limitations.
Specifically, this self-driving technology alliance brings together over 50 organizations in an effort to expedite the development of these vehicles – and help cement Baidu's status at the top of the mountain in terms of Chinese firms working toward this massive technological and cultural shift. Aside from 13 manufacturers from China's automotive industry and ride-sharing firms UCAR and Grab Taxi, Baidu has also enlisted the aid of western car firms, such as Ford and Daimler, in its effort to be the first to bring a market-ready autonomous vehicle to drivers across the globe.
Outside of sending some massive waves through the automotive sector, the announcement of this alliance also offers up implications within the greater tech community. From helping to shift the core business structure of Baidu to increasing the amount of resources being funneled into tangential projects like the A.I.-powered DuerOS, the emphasis placed on A.I.-centric endeavors could be just what the doctor ordered as this industry titan seeks to break out of its current slump and regain lost market share from Alibaba Group, Tencent, JD.com, and other Chinese competitors.
Want to dig even deeper into the story of this historic agreement between Baidu and organizations from across the globe? Then be sure to follow the link below and dig into the full story from Jing and the rest of the South China Morning Post editorial team.