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With Apollo, the Chinese search engine provider Baidu is in direct competition with Waymo, the autonomous driving system developed by Google. Baidu takes over the successful model of Google’s smartphone operating system Android. Apollo programmers have free access to data, open programming code and hardware components, while Baidu benefits from greater reach and market power, as well as access to the driving data of carmakers and suppliers. Since the start of Apollo in the summer of 2017, 118 companies have already declared their support for the operating system, in addition to car manufacturers such as Daimler, Ford or BMW, as well as suppliers such as Nvidia, Continental, and Bosch. Now, BMW will get a seat on the board of Apollo , according to a memorandum of understanding.

So far, corporations such as BMW or Daimler have independently developed their autonomous vehicles, but even thus far they have always had to take account of the emerging standards. Baidu is developing its autonomous vehicles primarily in Sunnyvale, California. They are also being tested in the US and in an area north of Beijing.