July 05, 2018
Savannah Dowling is a reporter at Crunchbase News.
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Morning Report: China-based Baidu has partnered with Intel to enhance its autonomous vehicle platform, Apollo.

Chinese search behemoth Baidu has reportedly partnered with Intel’s Israel-based autonomous vehicle unit Mobileye. According to Venturebeat, the partnership will allow Baidu to incorporate Mobileye’s Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) system into Baidu’s autonomous vehicle software platform Apollo launched in 2017. Mobileye was acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion in March 2017, according to Crunchbase.

This deal comes on the heels of Baidu’s production announcement for its autonomous minibuses, Apolong, which it plans to launch in tourist-centric and geofenced areas of Beijing, Shenzhen, Pingtan, and Wuhan, according to TechCrunch.

Like many other companies building out autonomous vehicle projects, Baidu has initiated partnerships with various car companies and ridesharing services including Grab, Ford, Delphi, Honda, and Jaguar.

Baidu launched its $1.5 billion equity investment fund Apollo Fund in September 2017 to invest in startups and boost its own platform. Alibaba and Tencent have also made significant moves in the autonomous vehicle and artificial intelligence space including Alibaba’s creation of Alibaba AI Labs and its partnership with Sensetime.

As Crunchbase News has explored in the past, where Chinese government endorsement exists, money follows. For those operating in favorable verticals, these government-backed initiatives often mean an open regulatory environment and room to experiment. The Chinese government is betting that China will win the autonomous vehicle race, and tech giants are there to push that initiative forward.

From The Crunchbase Daily:

American Well raises $290M for virtual doctors

  • Boston-based startup American Well just raised over $290 million in a corporate round led by Philips and Allianz X, according to a securities filing. The twelve-year-old company operates a telehealth platform that connects users with doctors instantly via live video.

Uber and Careem in merger talks

  • Ride-hailing services Uber and Careem are reportedly in preliminary talks to combine their Middle Eastern ride-hailing services. The companies are said to be eyeing a variety of deal structures, including either a majority stake purchase or outright acquisition by Uber.

Satellite investment takes off

  • Venture investment into satellite companies has been on a rocket-like trajectory since 2012, following a long fallow period, a Crunchbase News analysis finds. Startups are applying recent advances to reinvent broadband, mapping and other industries.

Furniture startups skip the showroom

  • It’s increasingly clear you don’t have to leave your couch to purchase one. Venture investors are funding a raft of startups that offer home furnishing staples with the promise of simple purchase, delivery, and set-up.

Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias