Tesla China partners with Baidu for maps to clear FSD hurdle

Credit: Tesla Asia/X

Amidst Elon Musk’s unannounced trip to Beijing, China this weekend, reports have emerged indicating that Tesla has partnered with domestic internet giant Baidu for its vehicles’ mapping and navigation. The partnership is expected to help Tesla overcome hurdles for the release of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) system in China. 

During Musk’s visit, he met with a number of government officials such as Premier Li Qiang and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Chairman Ron Hongbin. He was accompanied by key Tesla executives such as Tom Zhu, SVP, Automotive, and VP Grace Tao. Interestingly enough, executives from CATL were also spotted visiting the hotel where Musk was staying. 

Reuters, citing people reportedly familiar with the matter, noted that thanks to the Baidu deal, Tesla would be able to use the Chinese tech giant’s mapping license for data collection on China’s public roads. This could also result in Tesla seeing fewer concerns about data security risks on its vehicles.  

Apart from its deal with Baidu for mapping and navigation, Tesla also cleared data security and processing requirements in China, as per the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Together with Tesla, other domestic automakers such as BYD also cleared all data processing requirements in the country. 

Tesla China is a key player in the country’s electric vehicle sector, though it has been steadily seeing more competition from domestic rivals. With this in mind, Tesla might be looking at Full Self-Driving to become a key advantage in the Chinese domestic auto segment. The electric vehicle maker’s large fleet of vehicles in China could also provide valuable real-world data for FSD’s training and development. 

Tesla China, for its part, has issued a comment about rumors surrounding FSD’s impending release in the country. As per the electric vehicle maker, “there is currently no timetable for FSD to enter China.” The company’s comment was quite interesting as Musk’s visit to China was connected to FSD, and Tesla’s official Weibo account highlighted the company’s self-driving aspirations. 

“We are honored to participate in the rapid development of China’s new energy vehicle industry. I sincerely thank friends from all walks of life for their concern and support. We will continue to work hard in China, develop together with the industry in areas such as artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, and energy storage, accelerate the implementation of clean energy and autonomous driving technologies, and turn our beautiful vision into reality,” Tesla China wrote. 

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Tesla China partners with Baidu for maps to clear FSD hurdle
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