Baidu Unveils Autonomous Vehicle Without Steering Wheel, Says It Will Use for Robotaxi Service

Baidu Unveils Autonomous Vehicle Without Steering Wheel, Says It Will Use for Robotaxi Service ...

Baidu, a Chinese search engine company, unveiled its new autonomous vehicle (AV) with a removable steering wheel, and plans to use it for its robotaxi service next year.

According to Baidu, the cost per unit will decrease to CNY 250,000 (roughly Rs. 30,00,000) for the new model, compared to CNY 480,000 (roughly Rs. 57,00,000) for the previous generation.

At the Baidu World conference, Baidus CEO Robin Li said that this massive cost reduction will enable us to deploy tens of thousands of AVs across China. We are moving towards a future where taking a robotaxi will cost half the cost of taking a taxi today.

With eight lidars and 12 cameras, the new vehicle will have self-driving Level 4 capability that require no human intervention. Lidars are detection devices comparable to radars, which use pulsed laser light rather than radio waves.

The company did not reveal the manufacturer of the new model.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a conference with investors in April that the company plans to begin mass production of its robotaxi without a steering wheel or pedals in 2024, and that a robotaxi ride will cost less than a bus ticket.

Alphabets Waymo unveiled a robotaxi without a steering wheel last year, stating that it plans to commercialize its fully self-driving cars in the United States in the near future.

Despite the fact, automakers and technology businesses around the world are still waiting for regulators to approve the deployment of such automobiles in the real world.

Baidus Senior Vice President Li Zhenyu said the vehicle would be able to drive without a steering wheel once Chinese authorities have approved it. The driving capability of the Baidus new AV is similar to that of a skilled human driver with over 20 years of experience.

Baidu, which started its autonomous driving subsidiary Apollo in 2017, is one of a number of Chinese companies attempting to make autonomous vehicles a mainstream reality.

Pony.ai, which is backed by Toyota and WeRide, is a competitor in this area, which has received investment from Nissan and Guangzhou Automobile Group.

Since its launch in 2020, the Baidus robotaxi service Apollo Go has operated over 1 million times across ten Chinese cities, and Baidu announced in April that it had obtained permission to deploy robotaxis without humans in the driving seat on open roads in Beijing.

2022 Thomson Reuters

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