Chinese Internet Search Engine Baidu Sets Up $1.5bn Self Driving Car Fund

Chinese search engine Baidu announced a 10bn yuan ($1.1bn) self-driving car fund on Thursday as part of a wider plan to speed up its technical development and compete with US rivals. The “Apollo Fund” will invest in 100 autonomous driving projects over the next three years, Baidu said in a statement. The fund’s launch coincides with the release of Apollo 1.5, the second generation of the company’s open-source autonomous vehicle software.

After years of internal development, Baidu in April decided to open its autonomous driving technology to third parties; a move it hopes will accelerate development and help it compete with US firms Tesla and Google project Waymo.