China’s ‘Google’, search engine giant Baidu, confirmed joining forces with carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to develop and manufacture ‘smart’ electric cars. Baidu will bring in its expertise on car connectivity and autonomous driving, including DuerOS for Apollo and Baidu Maps. Geely offers its manufacturing knowledge and its new electric Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA).
Baidu’s autonomous taxi service, Go Robotaxi, is already driving around in Beijing, Changsha, and Cangzhou with ‘safety drivers’ to intervene when necessary. Baidu already worked with Geely before via its Apollo autonomous driving unit, established in 2017. But also with other carmakers and suppliers like Continental, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Ford.
Agreement with Volvo Cars
In November 2018, Baidu and Geely-daughter Volvo Cars agreed to develop an electric car for the Chinese market jointly. Now that’s on the table again, but using Geely’s SEA platform.
In autumn 2020, Geely announced its dedicated EV architecture, the SEA, or Sustainable Experience Architecture, the world’s first open-source EV architecture. It will be used for all brands within the group in the future, including Volvo, Polestar, and Alain Visser’s Lynk & Co.
The Lynk & Co Zero Project prototype is the first to use SEA and should give birth to the Lynk & Co 08, the first production car with SEA underpinnings. But ‘open-sourced’ means the platform will not only be used inside the Geely Group.