BMW, Baidu joint project on self-driving cars breaks down

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 10:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 11:15pm

German carmaker BMW and Chinese internet giant Baidu will end their joint research on self-driving cars, executives for the two firms said on Friday, with Baidu now searching for new global research partners.

Wang Jing, the head of autonomous car development at Baidu, said the company was now using cars from Ford’s Lincoln division in its US testing, declining to elaborate.

“I’m open for any partners, actually I’m talking to many,” Wang said, speaking on the sidelines of the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen.

Tech and vehicle leaders contend that cars of the future will be capable of completely driving themselves, revolutionising the transport industry, with virtually all carmakers as well as companies such as Alphabet’s Google and parts supplier Delphi investing heavily in developing the technology.

The two companies decided to end the cooperation, which involved testing in the US and China, because they held different opinions on how to proceed with research, BMW’s China chief executive Olaf Kastner said at the Guangzhou car show, which began on Friday.

“We now have found that the development pace and the ideas of the two companies are a little different,” Kastner said, without specifying the exact point of disagreement.