VW taps Baidu's Apollo platform to develop self-driving cars in China

FILE PHOTO: A car with the Volkswagen VW logo badge is seen on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE on Friday said it would join China's Apollo autonomous driving consortium, which was founded by Baidu, as it seeks to develop self-driving cars for the world's largest market.

Baidu last year opened the Apollo consortium, which uses an open-source approach, to third parties to accelerate development of autonomous vehicles in the face of stiff competition from Google’s Waymo and U.S. carmaker Tesla.

Volkswagen will gain a seat on the management board of Apollo, the carmaker said.

Apollo has brought in more than 130 partners, including Germany’s BMW , and announced plans to begin testing self-driving cars with Ford by the end of this year.

The news comes as Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE explores a broad based partnership with Ford to develop electric and autonomous cars.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Michelle Martin and Douglas Busvine