Baidu is competing with the Udacity Open-Source Self-Driving Car 😛
I jest, of course. Baidu is going to release a “free” operating system for self-driving cars, although the news leaves unclear whether this will be “free, as in lunch” or “free, as in speech”.
But Baidu’s goal quite clearly seems to be commercialization, whereas Udacity’s project is primarily educational.
The article in the MIT Technology Review supposes that Baidu is undertaking this as a catch-up move in a race with the Silicon Valley giants. Perhaps by getting more companies on its operating system, it can get more data.
If so, this really does look like a repeat of the mobile phone wars, and Baidu might need to be prepared to spend a lot of money to support its free operating system.