BEIJING – Baidu and Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd. signed a strategic cooperation agreement in Beijing on October 17 to jointly put into small-scale volume production and trial operation of small autonomous shuttle buses that run in closed loops by the end of July 2018.
The plan, if achieved, will bring forward China’s volume production of autonomous vehicles by two years.
As the first volume production autonomous bus in China, the second generation of King Long’s autonomous shuttle bus will solve the “last mile” problem uncovered by public transport and realize complete autonomous driving in specially controlled environments. Baidu’s Apollo platform will provide autonomous solutions and take part in the whole process of vehicle design, including exterior appearance and interior design, the overall design of human-machine interface system, the architecture design of requirements in specific driving environments and the design of the specific autonomous driving system for the shuttle bus.
Lu Qi, president and COO of Baidu, said that the Apollo platform and King Long will utilize their respective advantages in AI and vehicle manufacturing to promote the upgrade of China’s auto industry.
“The cooperation of Apollo and King Long will make autonomous driving technology to be used quickly and realize the vision of a safe, convenient and orderly public transport in 2018,” said Xie Siyu, chairman of King Long.
King Long is the first bus maker to join the Apollo platform that was announced in April and the two signed a technology cooperation deal in June. The strategic tie-up is expected to provide a development model for China’s future public transport and help optimize the country’s complex traffic conditions.