Baidu, the Chinese search giant, and Nvidia, the graphics-processing pioneer, have announced a partnership on artificial intelligence which will encompass consumer devices, autonomous driving and cloud computing. The Chinese search giant also revealed that Nvidia’s artificial intelligence supercomputer, the Drive PX 2, will form the foundation of Baidu’s driverless car platform.
Baidu’s announcement comes two months after the Chinese search giant disclosed that its driverless car technology would be open-sourced in a project that will be known as Apollo. At a developer’s event the tech firm hosted, Baidu revealed that it had managed to bring together 50 partners who were ready and willing to commercialize the search giant’s autonomous driving technology. This included Ford, Intel, Microsoft and top universities and automakers in China.
Nvidia’s accelerators such as the Tesla P4 GPU and the Volta V100 GPUs, which were designed for the purposes of artificial intelligence inference and training in data centers are set to be deployed on Baidu’s cloud. Baidu and Nvidia will also partner with a view to optimizing the Chinese search giant’s open source deep-learning artificial intelligence framework known as PaddlePaddle. The framework will be made available to researchers and academics and will allow them to create new artificial intelligence applications.
Baidu’s artificial intelligence virtual assistant known as DuerOS will also be used to power Shield TV, a set-top box developed by Nvidia. Expected to be me available to consumers in China later in the year, Shield TV is designed for smart home applications, gaming and streaming.
Through the partnership, Baidu will benefit by leveraging the gains that have been made by Nvidia in accelerating the development of artificial intelligence. Baidu can then apply these gains in its various applications and thereby helping it maintain the lead the tech firm enjoys in China. Additionally, these gains could help Baidu catch up with its rivals in the United States such as Google. Nvidia will gain by getting a foothold in China which has an artificial intelligence market that is quickly evolving.
Due to slowing growth in search advertising, Baidu has been trying to diversify its revenue base. In its latest quarterly report, revenues of Baidu increased by 6.8% from a year ago to reach $2.45 billion. Earnings, however, fell by 10.6% to $258 million from a similar period a year ago. Nvidia has meanwhile been reaping from its early entry in artificial intelligence and the hold its highly advanced GPUs have on the market.