Hyundai and Baidu are ramping up their strategic cooperation

Hyundai and Baidu are ramping up their strategic cooperation

Hyundai Motor Group and Chinese internet services giant Baidu have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Internet of Vehicles (IoV), signaling their commitment to strengthening cooperation on next-generation connected car technologies. Baidu is signing technical cooperations with a number of automotive OEMs.

The newly-signed MOU with Hyundai will see the existing partnership reinforced to 'accelerate development of disruptive innovations in vehicle connectivity'.

As a first step on the partnership's roadmap, Hyundai and Baidu will co-develop a connected car service that provides a wide range of in-car content — real-time traffic status and live information about the user's end-destinations for example — based on big data, maps, artificial intelligence (AI) and portal services. Through such a service, Hyundai and Baidu expect to meet the growing demand for connectivity services among consumers in China and beyond.

Hyundai and Baidu will also collaborate on creating Hyundai Motor Group vehicle models embedded with Xiaodu In-Car OS for volume production. This plan aims to advance the application of AI in IoV through next-generation technologies and product innovation. Released at the Baidu Create 2018 AI developer conference earlier this month, Xiaodu In-Car OS is an AI-based IoV solution that is open platform, end-to-end and multi-mode. Currently, it consists of four components: dashboard, smart rearview mirror, infotainment and an in-vehicle robot.

Xiaodu In-Car OS was demonstrated at Baidu Create 2018 by a Kia Sportage. Its in-vehicle robot displays a wide range of emotions to interact with the driver and serves as a hub for seamless communication with the vehicle. The robot interactively responds to passengers' spoken commands for various functions such as navigation, ventilation, media and door locks. In addition, Xiaodu includes a safety feature which warns drivers when it detects fatigue and careless driving.

Another key area of the Hyundai-Baidu cooperation will be voice recognition services based on Baidu's natural language processing technology. Baidu's leading voice recognition technology will be coupled with Hyundai's proprietary noise cancellation technology, which filters out ambient background noises to enhance precision, enabling versatility for in-vehicle voice commands.

With a shared understanding that internet of things (IoT) is a centerpiece of connected mobility, Hyundai and Baidu have also agreed to continue efforts in speeding up the launch of intelligent vehicle-to-home services. The partnership's ultimate goal is to secure an upper hand in the competitive IoT market.

"The convergence of the ICT and automotive industry is happening at an unprecedented rate, motivating us to develop and provide new possibilities for our customers," said Kyowoong Choo, Director and Head of Infotainment Development Group at Hyundai Motor. "Through our partnership with Baidu, we will develop industry-leading connected-vehicles that exceed customer expectations."

Hyundai's partnership with Baidu dates back to 2015, when the two companies jointly developed and launched 'CarLife', an in-vehicle infotainment platform. Hyundai further strengthened its ties with Baidu in 2017, when the automaker became the first to equip its Chinese market vehicles with Baidu's connected navigation system and voice recognition technologies. Last month, Hyundai officially announced that it will take part in Apollo, Baidu's open autonomous driving program.

"Apollo's industry-leading intelligent driving technologies and solutions provide end-to-end ecosystem support for our partners. We look forward to collaborating with Hyundai to achieve volume production of AI-enabled vehicles and to provide a safe, convenient and comfortable driving experience to our customers," said Tan Su, General Manager of Baidu Internet of Vehicles.

Last year, Hyundai opened its first global Big Data Center in Guizhou Province, China, to gather and analyze massive volumes of data collected from the company's connected-cars. The new facility allows Hyundai to significantly expand its connected-car R&D capabilities, advance its market projections, and enhance business operations in China.

In addition to opening its Big Data Center, Hyundai also signed a memorandum of understanding with China Unicom, China's second-largest telecommunications provider, to co-develop a predictive-analytics platform.