Ford Forms Strategic Partnership with Baidu for In-Car Infotainment


Ford to work with the world’s largest Chinese language search engine on combining AppLink and Baidu apps to deliver an enhanced app experience for customers Ford and Baidu exploring possible collaboration opportunities between Ford SYNC AppLink and Baidu Cloud and Baidu Location Based Services to allow developers to utilize technologies offered by both Baidu Maps App and Baidu Voice Apps will be available in Ford vehicles equipped with AppLink


SHANGHAI, China--June 26, 2013: Ford and Baidu today announced a strategic partnership that will combine the best of Ford SYNC AppLink and the world’s largest Chinese language search engine to deliver a more robust in-car app experience for customers.

Ford and Baidu are also exploring possible collaboration between Ford SYNC AppLink™ and Baidu Cloud services, including Baidu Location Based Services offerings, to provide developers with richer functions so they can take advantage of the technologies offered by both services to enable more innovative services.

“At Ford we are allowing customers to access their favorite content while driving using voice controls, so they can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel,” said Joe Xia, Product Planning and Development Manager, Connected Services, Ford Asia Pacific . “And we are working with our partners to generate more ideas that will help transform the driving experience. By working closely with Baidu, we will be able to develop more features for our vehicles and look at ways to further improve the ownership experience.”

Ford and Baidu have worked closely together in other areas. Earlier this year, the two companies held a 24-hour Hackathon, a coding competition focused on developing potential in-car connectivity technology. Ten Ford developers and more than 70 Baidu developers brainstormed ideas and coding to find ways to make cars more social in the future, and came up with several ideas which had the potential to go into production.

Now, Ford and Baidu want to deepen that relationship, starting with Ford SYNC AppLink, which allows customers to control applications on their smartphones from the driver’s seat using voice controls, through the SYNC voice-activated connectivity system.

Ford is introducing several new apps in AppLink-enabled vehicles, including two from Baidu – Baidu Maps and Baidu Voice Assistant. AppLink enables these apps, when running on a smartphone, to use the audio system in Ford vehicles to provide turn-by-turn navigation instructions and a moving map. Baidu Maps also allows users to use their voice to search for services such as nearby gas stations.

Using the power of Ford SYNC AppLink, consumers can use voice commands to operate Baidu Voice Assistant while driving, requesting information such as the weather, their current location, and traffic conditions. It can also read incoming text messages, and allows the driver to reply by voice dictation.

“It has been great cooperating with Ford Motor Company, using the power and capability of AppLink to bring some of Baidu’s most popular apps into the car, making the driving experience for consumers not only more rewarding but doing so in a safe and simple to use way,” said Ren Jianbin, vice president, Location Based Services, Baidu. “Baidu’s LBS platform is open-sourced and free of charge. Baidu hopes this can change the current atmosphere of in-car connectivity.We are exploring the possibilities of what can be done when combining Baidu’s leading internet service capabilities with Ford’s leading in-vehicle connectivity experience.”

Ford and Baidu, which both have adopted and promote open technology for in-car infotainment, are also working on a possible collaboration tie-up that would allow them work more closely on the services provided by both AppLink and Baidu Cloud.

Baidu’s Cloud Developer Center which offers software development tools and technical services to developers, who are able to take advantage of the open platform for building applications.

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