Baidu, BMW end autonomous cars partnership

The partnership that BMW and Baidu announced last June on self-driving cars is being terminated.  Baidu had been using BMW 3 sedans to perform on road tests in China and had planned to do the same in the US.

However, it has also been testing its autonomous technology on vehicles supplied by Chinese automakers BYD, Chery and BAIC.

Baidu, which in August received permission to conduct similar tests in California  is aiming to get its first production vehicles on the road using its technology by 2018, with a broader, mass production rollout targeted for 2021, TechCrunch reported.

Following the announcement, Baidu is now searching for a global partner to help meet its goal of making self-driving cars a reality for consumers by 2018. Baidu told Reuters that it was currently using Ford vehicles for testing now. 

According to BMW China CEO Olaf Kastaner who spoke to Reuters, the company and Baidu decided to end the partnership after the two parties had a disagreement on how the research project should proceed.

"We now have found that the development pace and the ideas of the two companies are a little different," he said.