SHANGHAI Germany's Robert Bosch ROBG.UL will collaborate with Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) and domestic mapping firms AutoNavi and NavInfo Co Ltd (002405.SZ) on automated driving projects, the engineer said in a statement on Wednesday.
The deal marks a push by the firm in China's autonomous vehicle market and follows a self-driving tie-up it made with Daimler AG's (DAIGn.DE) Mercedes aimed at accelerating the production of "robo-taxis" last month.
China issued a self-driving "roadmap" late last year, with the aim of having highly or fully autonomous vehicles on sale in the world's biggest auto market by as early as 2021.
Firms like Bosch, a major automotive supplier, have become prominent in the global race to develop autonomous vehicle technology, supplanting traditional top-down manufacturing relationships with a complex web of tie-ups.
The collaboration with Baidu, AutoNavi - owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) - and NavInfo will use Bosch radar and video sensors on cars to help generate and update maps critical to autonomous driving capabilities, the firm said.
"Automated driving will not be possible without high-precision maps – not in China and not anywhere else in the world either," Rolf Bulander, chairman of Bosch's Mobility Solutions unit said in the statement.
Chinese automakers including Geely [GEELY.UL] have called on authorities to loosen controls on mapping, saying national security concerns risk inhibiting the development of self-driving vehicles.
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Stephen Coates)