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Alexander F. Yuan / AP

Chinese search giant Baidu announced Tuesday that it will be partnering with Microsoft's Azure cloud computing services division to offer software and infrastructure for autonomous vehicles to firms outside China. The partnership is one of more than 50 that Baidu, known as the Google of China, has launched to create an open-source software platform that car makers can use to create autonomous vehicles of their own.

Why is Baidu giving its software away for free? Baidu President Ya-Qin Zhang tells Axios that it's attempting to be "the Android of the autonomous car industry," alluding to Google's smartphone platform, which it gives away for free as a means for selling more advertising. Zhang says that by making much Baidu's software available for free, it hopes to become the default autonomous driving platform that will open opportunities for profit down the road.

Go deeper

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.

Dave Lawler, author of World
41 mins ago - World

Biden's Russia challenge

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Biden administration has already proposed a five-year extension of the last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, announced an urgent investigation into a massive Russia-linked cyberattack, and demanded the release of Russia’s leading opposition figure, Alexey Navalny.

Why it matters: Those three steps in Biden's first week underscore the challenge he faces from Vladimir Putin — an authoritarian intent on weakening the U.S. and its alliances, with whom he’ll nonetheless have to engage on critical issues.