Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) will soon be helping make deliveries for Walmart (NYSE: WMT), putting it into direct competition with Google’s driverless technology, as per CNN. California startup Udelv announced on Tuesday that it will send out self-driving vans using Baidu’s technology. Test runs will begin in Surprise, Arizona.
Udelv has developed a fleet of delivery vans on Baidu’s open-source driving platform, Apollo.
The partnership with Baidu comes amid increased trade tensions between the United States and China. It highlights how companies from two continues will continue to work together. According to CNN, the self-driving vans will also be used by other companies in California, Texas, Houston, and San Mateo.
Baidu has made massive strides in the artificial intelligence industry. Last year it became the first Chinese company to join a U.S.-led alliance on AI which includes Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), and IBM (NYSE: IBM).
The partnership between Udelv and Walmart will pit Baidu against one of its biggest autonomous driving rivals, Waymo, as stated by CNN. Walmart had begun a pilot program with Waymo last year in Chandler, Arizona. Walmart customers can order groceries online, and Waymo cars would then transport them to and from the store.
Udelv’s Chief Executive Officer Daniel Laury said using Apollo software helped speed up development of the Company’s latest self-delivery van dubbed, the Newton. “Baidu’s Apollo brings us one step closer towards realizing our mission of reinventing delivery by bringing autonomous vehicles to the e-commerce industry,” the CEO later added.
Udelv’s Newton “is a prime example of Apollo accelerating innovation and utility in the autonomous industry,” said Jingao Wang, Head of Baido’s Apollo platform.