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Qi Lu is opening the road for self-driving cars

Lu is No. 86 on the Recode 100.

Joining Baidu as its chief operating officer in early 2017, Qi Lu finds himself near the top of one of the world’s largest and most powerful internet companies. But rather than using that scale to crush the competition, he has spearheaded an effort called Apollo, aimed at making the advancement of self-driving car technology an open, collaborative process.

The thesis is that autonomous vehicles will get nowhere fast if the developers and academics researching them can’t freely share their data and ideas with one another. Apollo, which Qi launched in April, offers a platform for secure sharing in the mutual interest of better, safer cars on the road.

In addition, Qi is also responsible for the expansion of DuerOS, Baidu’s answer to Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa. The company’s humble goal is to get “everyone on the planet” using DuerOS; it has recently developed a chip that can put the AI assistant into any device with a microphone and a speaker.

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