Baidu’s new AI chip does… everything?
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Baidu’s new AI chip does… everything?

Chinese internet titan Baidu, often described as the country’s answer to Google, has unveiled a new artificial intelligence (AI) chip with a myriad of uses. The chip – called ‘Kunlun’ – will be put to work running datacenters, powering autonomous driving solutions, and dealing with a range of specialist areas like natural language processing and search rankings. The company made the announcement while preparing to launch its first self-driving vehicles in Japan, and is no doubt hoping that Kunlun will put it front and center of the AI race.

Baidu’s share price has risen by 9% over the last three months

graph 0607 baidu

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Kunlun has appeared just months after the departure of Lu Qi, Baidu’s former Group President, who was mandated to champion the company’s AI ambitions. His sudden departure raised real questions about Baidu’s ability to conquer the new technology before its competitors, and had a manifest impact on the company’s share price (sending it downwards by more than 10%). Kunlun will, hopefully, go a long way to showing what the company is capable of.

At the same time as revealing Kunlun, Baidu has announced that it is accelerating the production of its Apolong self-driving bus. This vehicle is the first to emerge from the company’s Apollo platform, and is being produced in tandem with manufacturer King Long. The company is planning to take Japanese roads by storm with Apolong as early as 2019, and has, allegedly, already produced 100 units from a southern Chinese manufacturing plant.

Disclosure

Dominion holds Baidu in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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