Hundred-billion greenback tech big Baidu does not simply dominate the search engine sport in China, it additionally owns the world’s largest robotaxi firm, Apollo Go, which has been taking paying prospects in autonomous cabs since 2021 with out security drivers on board.
Now, the corporate has launched its Sixth gen, production-ready electrical johnnycab, named the Apollo RT6. Set to enter service in 2023, the RT6 represents the primary of a brand new technology of autonomous taxis designed to drive journey prices into the bottom.
Baidu says the RT6 will value simply RMB 250,000 (US$37,000) per unit to fabricate, and its goal is to cost human drivers out of the sport. “This huge value discount will allow us to deploy tens of 1000’s of AVs throughout China,” stated Robin Li, Co-founder and CEO of Baidu, at Baidu World 2022. “We’re transferring in direction of a future the place taking a robotaxi can be half the price of taking a taxi at the moment.”
It isn’t the sexiest of automobiles, however its a tidy and techy compact crossover design with common doorways on the entrance and electrical minivan-style sliders on the again. And it is a massive step ahead from the corporate’s current-gen automotive, with its chunky digital camera and sensor bundle using on prime like a mind slug. The RT6’s 38 sensors, together with eight LiDARs and 12 cameras, are rather more properly built-in with the design – a reality Baidu reveals off by giving it the mom of all sunroofs.
That is the corporate’s first ground-up robotaxi, constructed at first for driverless service, and because of this, the steering wheel is a removable afterthought. As with Apollo’s different automobiles, human drivers stand able to take over by distant management if the 20 million-odd check miles (32 million-odd check km) logged by the extent 4 autonomous system cannot enlighten the RT6 on what to do subsequent. With out a everlasting steering wheel or driver’s seat, there’s loads of room within the cabin. Baidu suggests this room could also be taken up with “additional seating, merchandising machines, desktops, or gaming consoles.”
Based on Baidu senior company vice chairman Zhenyu Li, who additionally serves as GM of the corporate’s clever driving group, the RT6’s autonomous driving functionality is “equal to a talented driver with 20 years of expertise,” however look, we’re fairly accustomed to outrageous statements by autonomous automotive pushers at this level.
Apollo is already working in 10 Chinese language cities, and has equipped over one million rides. Try the RT6 in a video beneath.
Baidu World 2022 | Say Howdy to the Apollo RT6, Baidu’s Subsequent-Gen AV