Baidu Create 2017 sets sight on global leadership in AI
Robin Li, Baidu's CEO, who is driving on the Fifth Ring Road, shared with all participating developers his experience in using autonomous driving. Photo:
Baidu, China’s leading Internet search provider, held its first artificial intelligence (AI) developer conference on Wednesday at the China National Convention Center (CNCC) in Beijing. At the Baidu Create 2017, the company has released a significant AI program including the most attention-getting Apollo open platform for autonomous driving.

When Qi Lu, Vice Chairman, Group President and COO of Baidu, talked about the Apollo open platform in his keynote speech, he had video connection with Robin Li, Co-Founder and CEO of Baidu, who was riding a self-driving car based on Apollo heading for the meeting venue.

Li, who was driving on the Fifth Ring Road, shared with all participating developers his experience in using autonomous driving, “There are now many cars on the road, but I feel good because (the car I’m riding in) has stable operation. In front of me is a screen showing how the car is exploring its surroundings when we’re in automatic mode.”

The Apollo Open Platform would provide Baidu’s ecosystem partners an open, comprehensive and safe software platform to integrate cars with hardware systems to build a complete self-driving system.

Intelligent driving is one of the major topics for the conference and Baidu disclosed more details about Apollo in April and claimed to be capable of building self-driving system in cars within just a few days. Baidu’s partners include Chery Automobile, FAW Automotive, Nvidia and TomTom who all participated in the Baidu Create 2017.

Baidu has invited developers from all around the world to participate in this festival of AI technology, and it is widely reported the company has made a name for itself as one of the leaders in AI in the world’s most populous country.

According to Qi, the Chinese-language web services company is also an AI company due to its dominant position in the AI technology, data and talents. “AI presents opportunity to Baidu, and Baidu will be fully devoted to the field,” Lu said.

Besides, Lu believes AI would bring historical opportunities to China. “43 percent of all AI research papers were composed by Chinese,” Lu said, noting his company has long explored the area with rich technological accumulation, while China has the largest and most active population of Internet users in the world.

China is previously reported to have provided preferential policy environment for the industry. AI related proposals were included in the year’s Report on the Work of the Government. With much more profound data resources and governmental support for Baidu’s AI efforts, the industry would be further empowered in the foreseeable future.


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