It seems that just about everyone wants a piece of self-driving cars these days. The latest appears to be NVIDIA and Baidu. For those that may be unaware, Baidu is essentially like Google for China. They have their hands in a lot of areas and are a search engine. Actually they are the most popular search engine in China – largely due to Google being blocked in the country. Baidu World Conference was held today, and NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage to announce a new partnership between the two.
According to Huang, NVIDIA and Baidu want to build a complete platform for autonomous driving, from top-to-bottom. The exec said that the two are "going to bring together the technical capabilities, our expertise in AI, and the skills of two world-class companies." He also noted combining the capabilities from both companies means that they "will be able to deliver a cloud-to-car architecture platform that promises to get cars on the road in the next several years." Huang says that the goal of this platform that the two are going to create, is for Baidu to get a fleet of autonomous taxis' on the road. Then use the same platform for branded car OEM consumer vehicle offerings. Huang also stated that the platform would be "completely open", and they are hoping to get other auto makers on board.
Baidu appears to be wanting to do the exact same thing that Google wants to do. And that is use autonomous vehicles for a ride-sharing service. Something that they have already begun to play around with, using Waze. Uber has also begun testing autonomous vehicles in their network in Pittsburgh. It's what many companies believe will be the future. Having cars come around to pick us up and take us places, cheaper – since there's no need to pay for a driver or gas, since these will be electric cars – and eliminating the need of humans needing to buy a car or even lease a car. NVIDIA isn't new to self-driving cars, they have shown off two models at CES in recent years. Although they are still pretty far behind some of the other competitors in the field right now.