Apple Car? No, Baidu Car

Prima ancora dell'Apple Car potrebbe arrivare la Baidu Car: il gigante cinese del Web e della tecnologia starebbe per entrare nel mercato delle auto elettriche.

Dopo le indiscrezioni relative al possibile arrivo dell’auto elettrica a guida autonoma di Apple già entro 5 anni, ora arrivano quelle secondo cui il gigante cinese delle ricerche sul Web Baidu sarebbe intenzionata a entrare nel business degli EV, gli electric vehicles.

Baidu è considerata la “Google cinese“, perché fa in Cina un po’ tutto quello che fa Google nel resto del mondo: è partita con un motore di ricerca, ha dominato il mercato e poi si è espansa in molti altri ambiti. Comprese le mappe, come Google Maps, e persino la guida autonoma: il suo sistema Apollo è un concorrente più che credibile delle soluzioni sviluppate da Waymo, la divisione guida autonoma di Alphabet (la holding di Google). Nevertheless, since Baidu is not stupid at all, it knows that building cars has nothing to do with building chips and developing software and, for this reason, electric cars won't be made by itself: rumors speak of a deal coming up with Geely.

Who is Geely Holding

Geely Holding is another Chinese giant. Few people know its name but almost everyone knows its cars: it owns the relative majority of the shares of Daimler-Mercedes and controls the Volvo and Polestar brands. The latter was the first brand to build an electric car equipped with the Android Automotive operating system.

Geely, therefore, knows how to make cars and will be the industrial arm of Baidu, while maintaining a minority share in the joint venture: Geely will build the electric vehicles, Baidu will develop the software and the assisted driving systems.

Why tech giants want to build cars

We have to wonder why the giants of the Web and of technology are so keen to enter the car market. A market that, it must be said, has not been in the best of health for years and where profit margins are increasingly low.

The reason is simple: cars are about to become autonomous. It is now a matter of years, not decades: by the end of the 1920s the technology will be ready and the world's major countries will have regulated the circulation of these cars on roads open to traffic.

Initially there will be a period of cohabitation between fully autonomous cars and human-driven vehicles. Then will come the era when the human will be only a passenger. And spectator: all the time spent in the car during the commute will be used either for work or leisure, in front of a screen.

Whoever builds that screen, then, will make huge profits by managing user data and feeding it paid content and/or advertising.

The problem, though, is that the tech giants have no idea how to build a car and have no reliable supply chain. That's also why Apple is reportedly in talks with Hyundai.