The two companies will leverage Voyah's capabilities in vehicle manufacturing to integrate Baidu's technologies in smart driving and smart cockpit.

Voyah, the premium electric vehicle (EV) brand of Dongfeng Motor (HKG: 0489), today signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Apollo, the driverless division of Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU, HKG: 9888), to collaborate around vehicle intelligence.

Voyah CEO and CTO Lu Fang and Wu Shulin, vice president of Baidu's smart driving business and general manager of Baidu's intelligent transportation business, held a signing ceremony in Wuhan, where the former is headquartered, according to a press release from Baidu.

(Image credit: Baidu)

The two sides will work together in areas including smart driving, smart cockpit, smart driving simulation cloud, automotive safety, and smart maps, to build new scenarios of smart driving and smart network connectivity, and explore new business models and new ecological cooperation.

Dongfeng Motor announced the Voyah brand and Voyah FREE at the end of 2020 to realize the traditional automaker's ambition to enter the EV market.

The first production vehicle of the Voyah FREE rolled off the line on June 30 last year, and its delivery started in August last year.

Voyah FREE delivered 1,400 units in March, up 89 percent from February, according to data released by Voyah earlier this month.

(Image credit: Voyah)

Baidu Apollo has now become one of the world's most active open platforms for autonomous driving since it started to develop self-driving technology in 2013.

In the third quarter of last year, Baidu's Robotaxi platform Apollo Go provided 115,000 rides, making Baidu the world's largest provider of self-driving mobility services.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Apollo Go saw about 213,000 passenger orders, an increase of nearly 100 percent from the third quarter, according to Baidu's fourth-quarter earnings report released early last month.

Back to the Voyah-Baidu partnership, the two companies will build on Voyah's capabilities in vehicle development and manufacturing to integrate Baidu's technologies in smart driving and smart cockpit, according to the press release from Baidu.

The two sides will jointly develop and adapt to create industry-leading, high-level intelligent driver assistance systems and intelligent human-machine interaction systems to contribute to the rapid development of smart EV industry in China, according to Baidu.

Voyah and Baidu will quickly meet the changing needs and experiences of users of smart cars through joint research and development, Baidu's Wu said.

Voyah to raise prices of pure electric versions of Voyah FREE by about $1,580