Ford, Baidu co-invest in autonomous tech firm Velodyne

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 16, 2016 9:47 AM

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co <F.N> and Baidu Inc <BIDU.O>, the Chinese search engine giant, have jointly invested $150 million in Velodyne, which makes a key component in self-driving cars as Ford ramps up development in the autonomous field.

Velodyne is a maker of laser-based sensors that are a major building block in self-driving cars.

The investment, announced early Tuesday by the Silicon Valley tech firm, is intended to speed development of laser-based sensors and broaden its use in advanced driver assistance systems and eventually in self-driving cars.

Ford Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields told CNBC television early Tuesday that the automaker is doubling the size of its Silicon Valley research team in Palo Alto to more than 300 and is ramping up development of self-driving vehicles.

Baidu in April said it had established a self-driving car team in nearby Sunnyvale, California, focusing on development of such enabling technologies as computer vision, robotics and machine learning.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)