Baidu is placing some severe money behind its self-driving car push after it announced a $1.5 billion fund that’s centered on backing autonomous driving tech firms.

The Chinese language big, finest recognized for its web search service and AI know-how, has prioritized autonomous autos in a serious means in recent times so this comes as little shock. Baidu made its Apollo self-driving car platform freely available to the auto trade earlier this yr. That quickly picked up partners and it at the moment claims round 70, together with Hyundai, Bosch, Continental, Nvidia, Microsoft Cloud, Velodyne, TomTom, UCAR and Seize.

Now Baidu — which is testing autonomous autos in each China and the U.S. — is doubling down with capital through this new fund, which it stated will goal to help round 100 firms over the subsequent three years.

Baidu additionally shipped a serious replace to Apollo this week which added 5 extra core capabilities to its platform. These embrace impediment notion, planning, cloud simulation, Excessive-Definition (HD) maps and Finish-to-Finish deep studying.

That is the second giant scale funding agency Baidu has launched in current occasions. Final month, it uncorked a $1.5 billion fund in partnership with China Life Insurance coverage Group focused at late-stage offers with firms with “significant association” with China.