Baidu launches a self-driving car without a steering wheel According to Reuters


© Reuters. Baidu’s new Apollo RT6 autonomous vehicle (AV), with a detachable steering wheel, is seen on the sidelines of the Baidu World Conference in Beijing, China July 20, 2022. REUTERS / Yingzhi Yang


BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc (NASDAQ:) on Thursday unveiled a new autonomous vehicle (AV) with a detachable steering wheel, with plans to put it into use for their robotaxi service in China next year.

Baidu says the price per unit will drop to 250,000 yuan ($37,031.55) for the new model, from 480,000 yuan for the previous generation.

“This massive cost reduction will allow us to deploy tens of thousands of AVs across China,” Baidu CEO Robin Li said at the Baidu World conference. taxis today. ”

The new car will have Level 4 autonomous driving without human intervention, with eight lids and 12 side cameras. The lid is a detection system that, similar to radar, uses pulsed laser light rather than radio waves.

The company did not disclose the manufacturer for the new model.

Tesla (NASDAQ:) CEO Elon Musk said in a meeting with investors in April that the company aims to begin mass production of its robotaxi without a steering wheel or pedals. 2024 and predicts that a trip by robotaxi will cost less than a bus ticket.

Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc’s Waymo also unveiled a steering wheelless robotaxi last year, saying it plans to roll out “fully autonomous vehicles” in the US in the coming years.

However, the world’s automakers and technology companies are still waiting for a nod from regulators to deploy such vehicles in the real world.

Baidu Senior Vice President Li Zhenyu said at the conference the car will run on the road without a steering wheel after approval by Chinese authorities, Baidu Senior Vice President Li Zhenyu said at the conference. conference, adding that the driving ability of Baidu’s new AV could be equivalent to a skilled driver with more than 20 years of experience.

Baidu, which launched its Apollo autonomous driving unit founded in 2017, is one of a number of companies in China working to make the widespread use of autonomous vehicles a reality.

Its competitors in this area include, which is backed by Toyota Motor (NYSE:) and WeRide, have received investments from Nissan (OTC:) Motor and Guangzhou Automobile Group.

Apollo Go, Baidu’s robotaxi service, has operated more than 1 million people in 10 Chinese cities since its launch in 2020, and Baidu said in April that it had received a license to deploy robotaxi without need people in the driver’s seat on the open roads of Beijing.

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