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Microsoft helps expand China's self-driving tech with Baidu

Partners of the Chinese search giant’s Apollo project can now share their technology outside the mainland via Microsoft Azure.


Microsoft has partnered with Baidu to expand its driverless tech outside China.


Microsoft wants in on China's ambitions in driverless technology.

The tech giant has partnered with Baidu, China's biggest search engine, to provide its Apollo partners with a cloud platform via Microsoft's Azure to share technologies securely outside China.

Announced in April, Baidu's Apollo project is an open platform aimed at advancing the development of self-driving cars, and it has attracted more than 50 partners. Baidu's ambitions are to have the cars running in "simple urban road conditions" by the end of the year.

Baidu CEO Robin Li was seen testing a prototype on Beijing's roads with his hands off the wheel, drawing warning from authorities. Concerns about self-driving cars continue as a Tesla driver, who kept his hands off the wheel of a Model S sedan while driving in autopilot was killed in a crash last year.

Microsoft is confident that its technology will improve the safety features of driverless cars.

"Today's vehicles already have an impressive level of sophistication when it comes to their ability to capture data," said Kevin Dallas, Microsoft's corporate vice president, in a statement.

"By applying our cloud AI, machine learning and deep neural network capabilities to that data, we can accelerate the work already being done to make autonomous vehicles safer."

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