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Tesla Switches to Baidu for In-Car Map Services

By Ding Yi / Jan 20, 2020 02:34 PM / Business & Tech

Tesla has chosen Baidu as its new provider of mapping data services, a move that could improve user experience in China, the automaker announced on its social media Weibo account on Friday.

Baidu Maps will provide Tesla car owners with services including basic map displays, real-time road conditions, and search functions for specific locations via its own application program interface known as scalable vector graphics, Baidu told Caixin.

The map services will also offer accurate maps that support zooming without losing image quality.

However, neither Tesla nor Baidu explicitly identified the name of the mapping company Baidu Maps will be replacing. Navinfo, a Tencent-backed mapping firm that has partnered with Tesla since the latter’s entry into China in 2014, downplayed the announcement, saying on its own Weibo account that its cooperation with Tesla will not be affected.

Observers say that Tesla’s recent partnering with Baidu might stem from the search engine’s capabilities in high-definition mapping, one of the key technologies that enable autonomous driving, a field in which Tesla also operates.

In 2018, Baidu signed a deal with Great Wall Motors to equip the Chinese carmaker’s WEY-branded cars with high-precision mapping and self-positioning technologies, an important step toward making its Apollo self-driving platform marketable.

Established in 2017, Baidu’s open-source Apollo platform aims to give third-party partners access to the necessary technologies needed for the research and development of driverless cars including high-definition mapping, obstacle perception technology and cloud simulation service.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Tesla Eyes Design and Research Center for ‘Chinese-Style’ Cars


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