Sources are saying that BMW and Baidu have ended their collaboration, after two years of working together on building self-driving cars. It is said that Baidu announced that they are currently looking for an automotive company to partner with and continue working on their project vehicles.
Head of autonomous car development for Baidu, Wang Jing spoke with Reuters and shared that the company is currently using Ford’s Lincoln brand to test their autonomous cars in the US. Wang went on to add, “I’m open for any partners. Actually, I’m talking to many.” Spokespeople for BMW and Baidu would not comment on the situation. There was one Executive from BMW that said the companies had different visions for the autonomous cars. The CEO of BMW China, Olaf Kastner said, “We now have found that the development pace and the ideas of the two companies are a little different.”
BMW plans to have a self-driving vehicle ready by 2021. At the same time, Baidu is more aggressive with 2018 set as their goal. This wasn’t the only issue between the two companies. There were other companies that BMW were working with, besides Baidu, for the autonomous technology. One company was Mobileye, which would be used for their collision-avoidance detection. They are also active with Intel.
When they began working together in 2014, the senior vice president of Baidu, Wang Jin announced that they would be launching a self-driving vehicle with BMW the following year. Their vehicle was going to be a prototype that uses the autonomous technology, but would also have a human driver. Although that never came to fruition, Baidu obtained an autonomous vehicle testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, this year. This is another steps towards their goal of testing their vehicles in the US. And, being in Cali means they could be rubbing shoulders with the great Google.