The annual flagship Baidu World Conference this week was all about AI and its application in autonomous driving, semiconductors, daily life, and various industries. Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU; HKEX: 9888) has unveiled the 7nm Kunlun II, a robocar and the Luobo Kuaipao robotaxi platform, the revamped Baidu Brain 7.0, and the new possibilities of Baidu AI Cloud, among other developments. Here is an overview of some key innovations.
AI open platform Baidu Brain 7.0 is the infrastructure supporting industrial applications of AI and Baidu Cloud. The latest upgrade, as Baidu said in a statement, "offers greater integration of a wide array of knowledge sources and deep learning, including language comprehension and reasoning, using numerous combined technologies to enable output across language, voice and visual formats."
Entering mass-production is Kunlun II AI Chip, Baidu's second-generation chip with 2-3 times more processing power than the previous generation. The node was independently developed using 7nm technology and is equipped with Baidu's XPU architecture. It can be used in cloud, terminal, and edge applications, is "able to empower high-performance computer clusters, biocomputing and intelligent transportation and autonomous driving," the company said.
Kunlun II is the hardware engine for Baidu Brain and supports algorithms including speech, vision, natural language processing, and intelligent recommendation. Together, they enhance accessibility and ease of use and power Baidu's deep learning platform PaddlePaddle, the No. 1 platform in China for developers to use AI technology through various tools to simplify the development and implementation of AI in real-world scenarios.
Baidu said PaddlePaddle has served 3.6 million developers and 130,000 enterprises and institutions around the world and helped build 400,000 AI models to date. "Applications have helped water management systems run more efficiently, helped improve quality control in manufacturing, and even helped athletes achieve greater precision in their training."
Moving to the autonomous driving segment, Baidu has modeled its robocar of the future – which the company says "will be more like an intelligent robot: it will move, it will communicate, and it will learn." For the present, meanwhile, Baidu has unveiled the Luobo Kuaipao robotaxi mobile platform as the company moves toward the commercialization of its autonomous taxis. Indeed, Baidu has been taking strides in the promising sector, having launched the service in several cities in China and struck several key partnerships to fast-forward the production of autonomous EVs for taxi service.
Among other announcements at the conference, Baidu has launched Songguo Academy for the training of professionals in AI. In addition, a number of new smart electronics were introduced, including the Xiaodu Smart UHD TV V86, TIANTIAN Rotating Smart Display T8, Xiaodu Active Noise Canceling Intelligent Headphones Pro, and a Xiaodu Intelligent Dictionary Pen.
"AI is the combination of technology and feeling. The value of the technology is that everyone can feel the changes brought by it," said Robin Li, Baidu's co-founder and chief executive, in his speech at the conference Wednesday.
Baidu World 2021 follows the release of second quarter financials by the company. In a report last week, Baidu posted $4.9 billion in revenue in the quarter through June. Baidu's AI cloud segment, meanwhile, surged 71% year-over-year.
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