Baidu Apollo has secured a 52.8 million yuan ($7.47m) government contract to provide autonomous driving solutions for a road-testing project in the Chinese municipality of Chongqing, the company said in a statement Thursday.
According to the statement, Baidu Apollo will build a “vehicle-road coordination system” necessary for Level 4 autonomous driving. China rates the different types of autonomous driving on a sliding scale depending on how much human interaction is needed and on environmental conditions. The vehicle road coordination system Baidu has been contracted to build will be used in an open test base in Chongqing’s Yongchuan district.
“Vehicle-road coordination technology”, which is highlighted in China’s recently released intelligent vehicle development plan, is used to increase the interaction between smart road infrastructures and self-driving cars, which in turn strengthens the car’s capabilities of understanding the surrounding road conditions.
As part of the facility the company will also build various road environments to simulate specific road conditions such as an overpass and the type of road conditions typically found in urban city centers, as well as a self-driving car monitoring platform, the statement added.
In 2019, Baidu signed an agreement with the Yongchuan district government and the Chongqing Academy of Metrology and Quality Inspection to jointly build the test facility, which broke ground on Mar. 9 and will accommodate up to 100 self-driving cars to be tested simultaneously. The deal came a year after Baidu obtained a license to conduct road tests of autonomous vehicles in Chongqing.
China has recently made several major moves in its attempt to push ahead with driverless vehicle development including the rollout of a development blueprint setting 2025 as the year to achieve mass production of cars with “conditional” self-driving capacities and a national standard that divides autonomous driving technology from Level 0 to Level 5. “Conditional” driving automation refers to Level 3 technology.
Established in 2017, Baidu’s open-source Apollo platform aims to give third-party partners access to the necessary technology needed for the research and development of autonomous vehicles including high-definition mapping, obstacle perception technology and cloud simulation service.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (firstname.lastname@example.org)