Harman International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung focused on connected technologies for the automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, says it is ‘pleased to announce it has expanded its relationship with Baidu, the Chinese Internet and web services company, to jointly develop new cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) solutions aimed at Chinese automakers’.

The two companies will collaborate to integrate Baidu’s DuerOS-based personal digital assistant and voice recognition engine technologies with Harman’s connected car and cloud platforms. DuerOS is an open operating system that already supports access to a voice-activated digital assistant for mobile phones, TVs, speakers, and other devices, while supporting the ability of third-party developer access. Together, the companies will now collaborate to create smart automotive features including automatic speech recognition (ASR) in English and Mandarin, natural language processing and speech synthesis.

The agreement builds on Harman’s existing relationship with Baidu. In January 2015, Harman and Baidu entered into a strategic collaboration to launch CarLife, a vehicle networking solution that offers advanced Internet capabilities, entertainment features and location-based services on Harman’s in-vehicle infotainment head units designed for the Chinese market.

“Harman’s vision is to revolutionise the in-car experience, and we continue to take bold steps to lead the industry with innovations that enhance and better integrate across their digital footprint – from home, to office, to the car – for people everywhere,” said Dinesh Paliwal, president, and CEO of Harman. “As we look forward to a future with increased autonomy, Harman and Baidu will continue to collaborate to deliver enhanced in-vehicles experiences to drivers that are intuitive and easy to use, and seamlessly integrated with their digital lifestyle.”

“The partnership between Baidu and Harman will let consumers use natural voice control to more safely and conveniently interact with their cars and access off-board information and services,” said Qi Lu, Group president and chief operating officer at Baidu. “Extending our successful partnership with Harman further demonstrates our joint commitment to creating the most flexible, innovative solutions that are tailored to meet the unique demand of Chinese auto industry and customers.”

Beyond the automotive market, Harman and Baidu DuerOS have also announced plans to deliver high-quality audio solutions for speech-enabled smart speakers, also integrated with Baidu’s advanced AI technology.