China: At the Baidu Create conference in Beijing, Baidu named NovAtel’s partner, AutonomouStuff, as a member of its autonomous driving ecosystem, Project Apollo. Initiated to provide an open, comprehensive and reliable software platform for Baidu’s partners in the automotive and autonomous driving industries, Project Apollo is named after the U.S. mission to the moon.
The project includes five of China’s top universities, and local government tie-ups as well. Partners can use the Apollo open software platform together with the reference hardware platform to accelerate development of their customized autonomous vehicle solutions.
Based on their extensive experience in autonomous system development, AutonomouStuff will provide the “Apollo Kit” to Baidu Apollo partners. The Apollo Kit includes the vehicle — a Lincoln MKZ with by-wire kit installed — and all hardware, software and services required for an Apollo partner to quickly begin developing their autonomous vehicle.
Accurate and reliable positioning is essential to any autonomous system. NovAtel SPAN GNSS/INS products will provide position, orientation and time as a critical component of the Apollo Kit.
“NovAtel is proud to support Baidu and Project Apollo with our high-precision SPAN GNSS+INS positioning solutions,” said Allan MacAulay, business development manager for NovAtel’s Safety Critical Systems Group, who was at the event in Beijing. “We were thrilled to be included in the off-the-shelf, ready-to-use 1.0 reference vehicle and hardware and Apollo Kit announcements by Baidu and AutonomouStuff at Baidu Create. Our technology is a key component on various Baidu autonomous and mobile mapping vehicles, demonstrating our extensive, long-standing support for Baidu and capability in the autonomous driving space.”
“This is a revolutionary movement that will have a major impact on the way developers utilize technology in the future,” said AutonomouStuff CEO Bobby Hambrick. “Apollo is a breakthrough. What used to take decades can now be available in one single day. NovAtel’s reliable GNSS/INS positioning technology is vital to accelerating autonomy development, and as our long-term partner, we are delighted to extend our collaboration to the Apollo Kit. The relationship between Baidu and AutonomouStuff, where NovAtel provides a key technology, is going to change the industry significantly.”
In early 2015, NovAtel took an important step towards delivering positioning solutions to the automotive and autonomous driving industries for serial production by forming a specialized Safety Critical Systems Group.
The group comprises highly skilled engineers with backgrounds in functional safety, as well as all aspects of GNSS and Inertial Navigation Systems technology. The Safety Critical Systems Group is focused on creating positioning products that will meet the exceptional performance and safety requirements of autonomous vehicles at the necessary production volumes and the required price point.