Interview with Baidu cloud Yin Shiming: cloud service is the force of “Apollo plan”


Titanium media note: Baidu’s every move in the driverless area attracts much attention from the industry. The titanium media dialogue, Baidu vice president and Baidu general manager Yin Shiming, talked about the business architecture of Baidu cloud, which is the first to explain the relationship and internal logic of the “Apollo plan” and the Baidu cloud business to the outside world by the Baidu cloud.

In the past year, the Apollo (Apollo), an unmanned open source plan, has gained a lot of exposure as a banner project for Baidu to promote AI’s first strategy.

From Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li to open a unmanned car on the five ring, Baidu unmanned vehicle “national team” swept the United States in January this year, CES, and so on, fully combed the technical image of Baidu unmanned vehicle; at the industrial level, the Apollo platform continuously open road perception, planning, high precision maps and simulation, data flat, flat data. Taiwan and other key algorithms and technologies are known as “Android in the auto driving world”.

The Apollo plan has a limelight of two, but behind it there is a solid infrastructure to support it. This is the most critical of which is the Baidu cloud, which not only provides technical penetration for every link of the Apollo open platform, and even after the Baidu AI’s first strategy, the Baidu cloud is the main corner behind the realization of the commercial interest after the Apollo’s continuous output of AI capabilities together with the enterprise market.

“The connotation and algorithm of Apollo belong to Apollo team, and the infrastructure of the Apollo platform and the empowerment of the enterprise market are Baidu cloud.” Yin Shiming, vice president of Baidu and general manager of Baidu cloud, said in an interview with the titanium media reporter, “as the Apollo platform continues to fall to the ground, the Baidu cloud’s ability to serve automotive intelligence will become stronger.”

Yin Shiming, vice president of Baidu and general manager of Baidu cloud

In Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent’s cloud service competition pattern, Baidu cloud chose such a path — continuous deep ploughing in the field of smart cars. This will undoubtedly become an important bargaining chip for Baidu to make use of the ABC strategy to break the market.

“We are the force of the Apollo”

Baidu official has announced the Apollo open source plan roadmap, which shows that the Apollo open platform contains four levels:

Cloud service layer, software platform layer, reference hardware layer, reference vehicle layer.

Although the cloud service platform is part of the Apollo plan, the Apollo platform is based on Baidu cloud in terms of the logic structure of the open plan.

According to Yin Shiming, in the various aspects of the Apollo platform, Baidu cloud will permeate and provide basic capability support. First, the Baidu cloud will provide cloud services such as simulation engines, data platforms, cloud security, air downloads and other cloud services for the Apollo program, and it is now open to public cloud services such as simulation engines.

Secondly, at the software platform level, the Baidu cloud will also provide a high strength support for the simulation training of unmanned vehicles to help unmanned vehicles get a large number of road data as soon as possible and accelerate the landing.

Yin Shiming said to the titanium media that commercial pilotless and laboratory pilotless driving are two concepts; the difference in commercial pilotage is that “the back-end support platform is strong enough and technical ability to be strong enough.”

Taking high precision map collection as an example, after collecting the traffic information every day, it needs to be returned to the backstage system, and then the model is iterated, which requires the Baidu cloud to perform a large number of off-line operations.

“This operation is in the offline data center of Yangquan.” “In both isomerism and isomorphic computing, the model iterates,” Yin Shiming said. “This requires a huge amount of calculation and continuous iteration to make the model better and better.”

In terms of reference hardware platform, Baidu cloud will provide local computing support for vehicle terminals.

“Now we all talk about cloud interaction, but even in the 5G era, I believe that at the end of this level, we need to work hard.” Yin Shiming said, “it is unrealistic and unnecessary and unsafe that you can not issue orders of accusation entirely through clouds. Therefore, for the automotive terminal, Baidu cloud will provide a higher computing power for its FPGA algorithm and help it optimize the model. This is something very basic but very core. “

In addition, in terms of storage and data security, Baidu cloud also provides basic support for the Apollo platform. Using an unmanned vehicle to generate 1GB data per second, if the car runs 600 hours a year, it is basically two PB data, and how to store these data and how to ensure safe storage, these all test the foundation and the ability of the Baidu cloud.

“In the driverless area, the Apollo platform is the brain that provides a lot of algorithms, and Baidu cloud is like the heart that provides power for Apollo’s computation and thinking.” Yin Shiming said, “with the continuous deepening of the Apollo plan, and constantly moving towards practicality, Baidu cloud will support more and more and become stronger and stronger.”

AI is the “grab”, the Baidu cloud is the export

In July 2016, at Baidu’s cloud computing strategic conference, Baidu founder, chairman and CEO Robin Li released the Baidu cloud “artificial intelligence + big data + cloud computing” three in one development strategy; in November of the same year, the 2016 Baidu Summit (ABC Summit), Baidu President Zhang Yaqin for the first time “cloud intelligence” three one. The body strategy is summed up as ABC (A is AI, B is Big Data, C is Cloud Computing).

At the second Baidu cloud summit in the following year, Zhang Yaqin said that the era of Cloud 2 marked by ABC integration is coming. It is also an opportunity for Baidu cloud to publish a series of products and “ABC Inspire” Technology logo.

ABC Inspire first empowering and supporting Baidu’s internal products and platforms, including DuerOS, Apollo platform, and so on, all based on Baidu cloud. At the same time, Baidu cloud, with the advantages of ABC technology and mature solutions, is promoting innovation and change in various industries, such as marketing, finance, media, industry, transportation, logistics and other industries.

Baidu President Zhang Yaqin has said that ABC is the core competitiveness of Baidu cloud, and Baidu AI strategy will go down to all walks of life through Baidu cloud.

“A good layout of AI ecology is the most important. In any case, we must first deploy the driverless platform and force the AI commercialization.  , Zhang Yaqin once said.

This is not a complex logic. For AI, the lack of commercial landing is a common problem in the whole industry, but AI is the best user and market grab. And for Baidu, Amazon, Ali and other cloud service providers have first IaaS, PaaS market pattern to be fixed to be determined, after the entry of Baidu cloud want to quickly achieve commercialization, it is no doubt difficult to break the situation. The combination of Baidu cloud and Baidu’s AI capability is the essence of Baidu’s cloud ABC strategy.

Therefore, the division of roles between Apollo platform and Baidu cloud is applying this strategy. “The connotation and algorithm of the Apollo platform are made by the Apollo team, but the export of the platform is provided by us (Baidu cloud).” Yin Shiming told the titanium media.

High output automotive industry, no doubt gathered a lot of AI landing scenes such as driverless, smart car space. Baidu launched the Apollo program in addition to the unmanned drive, and also launched a voice interaction system DuerOS for the interior space experience. The two major solutions are a powerful grip on the car market. According to official data, the number of partners accessing the Apollo platform has exceeded 100, and this data is still growing.

But it is worth noting that the emphasis on AI capabilities in cloud services is not Baidu’s original creation. At a conference in June last year, Song Jiqiang, the president of the Intel China Institute, even made the following predictions that, by 2020, the demand for computational power related to artificial intelligence would grow 12 times.   therefore, there is no doubt that the demand for artificial intelligence will become increasingly urgent.

According to public reports, Google is iterating TPU based on its own technical advantages, and Microsoft has also launched a FPGA based deep learning acceleration system Project  Brainwave, a domestic cloud service provider, is also rapidly upgrading its heterogeneous computing products. Baidu, which is the main ABC, is also optimizing its own computing products.

In Yin Shiming’s view, the Baidu cloud is innate based on the ABC layout strategy, as well as the AI service capabilities that have been built up through the persistence of the Apollo program.

“The support for Apollo allows Baidu cloud to be more integrated with autopilot and cloud handling.” Yin Shiming, general manager of Baidu cloud, said, “and in the middle of the cloud, the Baidu cloud has a complete technical system and operating system to support it, and any car factory can learn from this.”

Data processing is the most frequently used scene in the pilotless industry, “from data collection, data production, operation, data annotation, the whole data of artificial intelligence processing process, car enterprises can learn from the Baidu cloud.” Yin Shiming introduced that Baidu cloud can handle tens of thousands of pictures per day, and this capability has been opened to the automotive industry.

Baidu cloud under “ABC+IoT”

Yin Shiming divided the application of cloud into two stages: cloud computing on pure magnetized computer and cloud computing at architecture level.

“The era of Cloud 1 began from 1992, and its brilliance lasted until 2012. This stage mainly provides computing and storage technology computing capabilities, making software, hardware, services and processes undergo revolutionary changes. Yin Shiming said, at this stage, you can see more and more professional software, the database system has front-end software, business processes and ERP, IC, CAN, and communication software, DCS and so on.

In the 2 phase of the Cloud, it is characterized by an enterprise oriented client server architecture that provides business computing capabilities such as customer relations, sales, and commercial data mining.

“Today’s business is characterized by breakthroughs, data, processes, or logic operating outside the border, which are playing a more and more important role and have an impact on the enterprise.” Yin Shiming said that this is the source of Baidu cloud “ABC+IoT” concept.

“Before the sale of cars and car companies have little relationship, in fact, car companies want to know the situation after the car sold, but can not understand. But in the era of pilotless and intelligence, the interaction between enterprises and users and devices will be very frequent, and enterprises can really do more outside the border. ” Yin Shiming said that cloud computing, first of all, makes it possible for enterprises to process and dig large data data, and second, this data can be used by artificial intelligence.

“Artificial intelligence is consciousness, is the way of doing things, so artificial intelligence, large data, cloud computing, these points have formed a complete virtual world, and IOT let the virtual world and the real world realize the connection.” Yin Shiming said, “this is a world of interconnection or self association. The possibility it brings is an exponential growth, or an outbreak.”

Whether it is from the exposure, or Ali, Tencent, HUAWEI and other major players in the field of cloud service layout rhythm, Baidu cloud are relatively low-key. However, the Baidu cloud is being opened in the domestic market, with a large order in Baosteel and Anshan Iron and steel company. At the same time, it has begun to charge for the automobile industry that is out of cross boundary integration transformation.

“In the ABC strategy, Baidu’s investment in cloud computing, the accumulation of artificial intelligence, and the accumulation of pilotless aspects, Baidu is recognized in the industry.” “More importantly, the idea that we do the cloud is different,” Yin Shiming said. “Our intention is to build our business system around the core of” AI technology to commercialize “.

This concept is clearly being recognized by the cloud service industry. “In the field of technology, especially in the field of cloud services, the most competitive point of competition is not who has better technology, but who can convert the commercialization of machine learning into a service.”   Fortune magazine cited the technology learning community Free  Code  Camp, a deep learning developer, which seems to be a strong proof of the current Baidu cloud layout strategy. (the first titanium media, interview, author / Li Qin)

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