Google rival Baidu makes an AI Chip

By Laura Berrill
Chinese firm Baidu has unveiled its latest Kunlun II chip for use in autonomous driving and other applications

The chip, unveiled at Baidu’s World Conference, is claimed to be two to three times faster than its predecessor and the unit is also an artificial intelligence chip that can be used for autonomous cars.

The Chinese search giant is Google's rival in China and is already planning to make a robotaxi, the type of vehicles that will drive themselves. In addition, Baidu wants to have these taxis ready for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing.

The name of the chip comes from the Kunlun Chip Technology Company, which is a semiconductor design firm spun off from Baidu. It is supposedly an independent company which has developed a second-generation AI processor. The new chip is made in 7 nm process technology, and has a maximum consumption of 120W.

The chip’s predecessor was launched three years ago and was also designed for autonomous vehicle applications. This new unit promises to be up to three times faster than its predecessor, while being at least twice as fast. 

The race to develop artificial intelligence chips for applications

Baidu is not the only company involved in developing AI chips for self-driving vehicles and other applications. Until the launch of this new chip, Nvidia's A100 was considered to be the most powerful in the field. Until the Chinese company's microchip gets tested by an independent company, it is unclear just how powerful the new unit can be.

Baidu wants to use the new microchip in its self-driving vehicles and is also interested in selling it to other companies. According to Baidu's statement, the chip is good for biocomputing, cloud computing, and intelligent transportation.

Earlier this year, Baidu announced starting a partnership with a local manufacturer, Geely, to build electric vehicles. This partnership will mean that Geely will build the vehicles, while Baidu will provide their software and technology. Baidu also teamed up with BAIC's Arcfox to build 1,000 Robotaxis over the next three years.



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