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Baidu and ON Semiconductor Team Up With Eye on Image Sensors for Self-Driving Cars

By Ding Yi / Jul 14, 2021 06:26 PM / Business & Tech

Baidu Apollo has partnered with Phoenix-headquartered semiconductor supplier ON Semiconductor to set up a joint studio to explore image sensor solutions for autonomous driving, a move that could give it an edge in developing driverless vehicles.

The image sensor, which can be classified by resolution, frame rate, pixel size and sensor format, is considered one of the most important components of a self-driving car’s vision system.

Baidu did not provide details about the configuration of image sensors it will develop with ON Semiconductor, but said that gaining access to the U.S. company’s latest technology could help it provide better services to the partners of its Apollo platform.

The Chinese search giant is seeking ways to profit from its Apollo platform which provides third-party partners with access to key technologies for autonomous driving like high-definition mapping, obstacle perception and cloud simulation.

The tie-up between the two companies dates back to 2018, when ON Semiconductor announced its accession into the Apollo platform to supply a CMOS image sensor product capable of providing clear images and videos in low- and mixed-light environments.

The studio’s launch comes as Baidu is stepping up efforts to expand its influence in self-driving car services. At the World Artificial Intelligence Conference held in Shanghai last week, Baidu CEO Robin Li said that the company aims to expand its Apollo Go robotaxi services to 30 Chinese cities in the next two to three years.

The Beijing-based company also pins high hopes on its joint venture with Geely which is tasked with producing smart electric vehicles equipped with its own automated driving systems.

Related: Baidu Says Its Excavator Automation System Could ‘Transform the Construction Industry’

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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