Baidu, Ford Hackathon Creates Apps for Cars
After 24 hours of coding, dancing, music, food and beer, 26 individuals and self-organized teams of Baidu engineers demoed their in-car apps built during a hackathon jointly held by Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) and Ford (NYSE: F) at the Baidu Campus on Sunday morning.
All of the 26 APPs were built with technologies and application development tools offered by the Baidu Cloud Developer Center (developer.baidu.com), and were integrated into Ford's AppLink system, which allows drivers to run voice-controlled apps on their phones.
In addition to APIs and SDKs already available in the Baidu Cloud Developer Center, Baidu opened new APIs, including music and facial recognition, especially for this hackathon.
Some of the integrated apps allowed drivers to send SMS or post weibo or microblog entries by voice, while others enabled drivers to ask questions about buildings, billboards or landmarks they drove by, with answers pushed to their cars from the cloud. Another app detects a drowsy driver with facial recognition technology, waking up droopy-lidded drivers with a high-volume song—and texts friends automatically with the driver's location and a request for help.
First prize for individual engineer in the hackathon went to Ms. Gao Yuan, who built an app featuring a simple two-option multiple choice quiz game with the driver, ranking the score among all drivers using the app. Ms. Gao's app won her a trip to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress in February.
“I was truly inspired by the innovation and fun you were having and our imagination on what future vehicles will be like. I look forward to seeing some of these apps actually coming to life in our products,” said David Schoch, Group Vice President and President, Asia Pacific at Ford Motor, who was on the judging panel along with Sun Yunfeng, chief product architect at Baidu. Sun Yunfeng said that this was the first time a Baidu hackathon involved another company. “We look forward to future cooperation with makers of other devices like televisions or home appliances,” he said. “Baidu has talent, technology and quality content to offer in fields like music, voice recognition and facial recognition.”
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