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Intel and Baidu team up to make autonomous driving even smarter, safer

Two of the biggest names in autonomous driving are teaming up. Intel and Baidu announced an agreement that will see Baidu adopt technology and practices from Intel subsidiary Mobileye as part of its own self-driving car programs.

Under the agreement, Baidu will adopt Mobileye’s Responsibility Sensitivity Safety (RSS) model in both its open-source Project Apollo and commercial Apollo Pilot autonomous-car development programs. Baidu will also use Mobileye’s Surround Computer Vision Kit hardware suite as part of an autonomous-driving system that will be marketed in China.

Unveiled in 2017, RSS is designed to imbue self-driving cars with what Intel calls “common sense human-centered concepts of what it means to drive safely,” such as maintaining a safe following distance and understanding that right of way is given, not taken. The goal is to create a standardized definition of safe driving, and a set of protocols that autonomous-driving systems can be measured against to ensure that they are truly safe. Mobileye and Baidu will work together to adapt RSS to Chinese driving styles and road conditions.

On the hardware side, Baidu will also begin using Mobileye’s Surround Computer Vision Kit. The kit consists of 12 cameras positioned around the vehicle, plus Mobileye’s own computers software to read and interpret the images, giving the car a complete picture of its surroundings.

Previously known for a popular search engine, Baidu is currently developing autonomous-driving tech along two main tracks. Project Apollo is an open-source platform, which Baidu claims is being co-developed with more than 50 companies, including automakers Ford and Daimler, parent of Mercedes-Benz. Baidu is also developing its own proprietary system for the commercial market under the code name Apollo Pilot. The company uses the name Apollo for its self-driving car programs as a reference to NASA’s Apollo Moon missions. Baidu believes developing autonomous cars is a comparable technical challenge.

Israel-based Mobileye specializes in developing cameras and accompanying computer-vision software for automotive applications. The company was bought by Intel last year for $15.3 billion, and together the two firms have pushed to develop an autonomous-driving tech platform that can be marketed to other companies. So far, BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have signed on as development partners.

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