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China's Baidu Search Engine Engages In Making HD Maps For Autonomous Cars

China's largest search company, Baidu, believes that, in the long term, HD maps will represent a "much bigger business" than their current online commercial activities.

This, according to Technology Review, comes straight from Baidu's Chief Operating Officer, Qi Lu, who shared his thoughts with reporters during this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

According to Lu, Baidu will sell HD maps as a service to car makers, who can either opt to charge service fees or add the cost into the overall price of the vehicles.

The Chinese tech firm also announced a partnership with mapping company TomTom, which will help with the integration of HD maps into the Apollo autonomous-vehicle software. Baidu currently has 90 partner companies, including BMW, Ford and Nvidia.

While other tech companies, such as Intel, are also working on HD maps for self-driving cars, Baidu appears to have the lead in China, as Lu spoke about how his firm's relationship with the country's government and other entities, are helping "pave the way" for autonomous cars. "Not that we will become the national standard", he added, showing that in spite of his aspirations he is still aware of the stiff competition .


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