This is potentially very BIG news for both Baidu, a mega Chinese consumer Internet company and Velodyne Lidar. Autonomous vehicles have a much greater potential in a highly controlled state government.
It’s learned that Baidu has reached investment intent with Velodyne LiDAR, but no accurate investment amount or share ratio has been reported. In the future, the two companies will conduct deep cooperation in self-driving and other areas. Velodyne is a Silicon Valley company which established in 1983, famous for its 64-Line Laser Radar Product, which is used by Google’s self-driving car.
Baidu established self-driving business unit in December, 2015, and proposed a “three years for commercial vehicles and five years for mass production”plan. Self-driving project is on trial operation in Wuhu and Wu Village in succession, and now the product in under testing in Shanghai. Wang Jing, General Manager of Baidu’s self-driving business unit, said that Baidu is directly aiming at fully automatic driving and will buy the most expensive sensor to protect customers’safety and gradually achieve commercial mass production.
He reveals that the supplying price for Velodyne 64-line Laser Rader product has decreased from RMB 700,000 to RMB 500,000, resulted by Baidu’s mass purchasing. Baidu will have an opportunity to obtain a cheaper product after it holds Velodyne LiDAR’s shares. For Velodyne LiDAR, cooperating with a Chinese company makes it easier to open the domestic market. China has become one of the most active countries in R&D of self-driving technologies, and Baiduhas leading technologies among all domestic companies. The two sides may also consider cooperation in technologies, resources, apart from strategic layouts.