Apollo, Baidu’s Open Autonomous Driving Platform
Rolls Out Compact Bus Installed with Level 4 Autonomous Driving Technology
|Apolong, Baidu’s mass-produced compact autonomous bus.(CES Asia 2017)|
In July 2018, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent were listed as the top three in the list of 2018’s Top Chinese Internet Companies announced by the Internet Society of China and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). According to the announcement, the total operating income of the top 100 companies saw a y/y increase of 82.6% for a total of RMB 270.71 billion, with 11 of those companies seeing 40% y/y growth. Internet-related income for Alibaba and Tencent, the top two companies, account for more than 25% of the total internet-related income for the entire top 100.
The three companies together are referred to as BAT, using the first three letters of each company name, with each company establishing a firm position in its respective field:Baidu in search services, Alibaba in e-commerce (B2C, B2B), and Tencent in online games and SNS. In order to deliver and expand services to meet the needs of consumers and companies, each company has had to rapidly acquire other companies and establish new business ventures. As a result, the three companies have become massive platforms with a major influence in the worlds of finance, retail, physical distribution, education, manufacturing, and more.
Baidu, the largest Chinese search engine and one of the three pillars of BAT, has sales that are roughly 1/3 that of Alibaba and Tencent. Scandals related to healthcare advertising in 2016 led to stronger governmental regulations, resulting in lower net income. In an attempt to exit the profit structure of internet advertising, Baidu is now aggressively pursuing autonomous driving technologies. In April 2017, the company announced Apollo, an open autonomous driving platform. In November 2017, the company was subcontracted by the government as one of the companies selected to pursuing the nation’s next generation AI innovation platforms.