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CHINA: Ford forms infotainment partnership with Baidu

By Dave Leggett | 27 June 2013

Ford has announced that it is to work with the world’s largest Chinese language search engine – Baidu - on combining AppLink and Baidu apps to deliver an enhanced app experience for Ford customers in China.

Ford and Baidu are also exploring possible collaboration between Ford SYNC AppLink and Baidu Cloud services, including Baidu Location Based Services offerings, to provide developers with richer functions so they can take advantage of the technologies offered by both services to enable more innovative services.

“At Ford we are allowing customers to access their favourite content while driving using voice controls, so they can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel,” said Joe Xia, Product Planning and Development Manager, Connected Services, Ford Asia Pacific . “And we are working with our partners to generate more ideas that will help transform the driving experience. By working closely with Baidu, we will be able to develop more features for our vehicles and look at ways to further improve the ownership experience.”

Ford and Baidu have worked closely together in other areas. Earlier this year, the two companies held a 24-hour Hackathon, a coding competition focused on developing potential in-car connectivity technology. Ten Ford developers and more than 70 Baidu developers brainstormed ideas and coding to find ways to make cars more social in the future, and came up with several ideas which had the potential to go into production.

Now, Ford and Baidu want to deepen that relationship, starting with Ford SYNC AppLink, which allows customers to control applications on their smartphones from the driver’s seat using voice controls, through the SYNC voice-activated connectivity system.