Baidu, in collaboration with Swedish car manufacturer Volvo, is set to launch a fleet of autonomous vehicles, coined "robotaxis" by Reuters, positioning them to become the world's top providers of driverless vehicles, according to Bloomberg.
Although commercial agreements have yet to be signed, Volvo and Baidu aim to develop level four autonomous vehicles in China after 2020, Bloomberg reported. Level four vehicles are defined as fully automated cars within the constraints of a mapped-out area.
Volvo said that the partnership will offer both companies the opportunity to develop and sell the vehicles "to potential Chinese customers, underlining the Swedish company's aspirations to be the supplier of choice for mobility companies globally".
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Volvo said that during the development of the autonomous vehicles "Volvo will provide access to its expertise and advanced technologies of the car industry" and Baidu will offer its recently unveiled Apollo 3.0, an open-source autonomous driving platform.
Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said: "With Baidu we take a big step forward in commercializing our autonomous-compatible cars, built on Volvo's industry-leading safety technology.
"There is a strong development in autonomous drive in China, where Baidu is a leading player, and the market there offers huge opportunities for us as the supplier of choice for autonomous fleets," he added.
Earlier this year, IHS Markit forecasted that approximately 14.5 million autonomous cars will be sold in China by 2040, and more than 33 million will be sold on a global scale.