Chinese tech giant Baidu starts publicly testing the Apollo Go robotaxis at Shanghai

Chinese search engine giant Baidu began publicly testing the Apollo Go mobile robotaxi platform in Shanghai. This marks Baidu’s expansion in China.

Baidu claims that its robotaxis are capable of Level 4, but a human safety officer will accompany all rides. All rides will be open to public from Sunday to ensure compliance with local regulations. L4 autonomous cars are those that don’t need human interaction and operate only in limited places. This is according to the Society of Automotive Engineers. Waymo and other companies like Cruise and Motional and Pony.AI use a similar mixture of radar, cameras, GPS and lidar to create a car brain capable of L4 autonomy.

Shanghai will have its own fleet of electric Hongqi-powered autonomous vehicles, which Baidu has produced using FAW. Although the company didn’t disclose the number of vehicles launched initially, a Baidu spokesperson stated that it aims to have around 200 vehicles by Shanghai. Baidu claims that it has tested or made public a total of 500 AVs in 30 different cities.

Baidu has a California permit for driverless technology testing. However, the company isn’t currently operating any services and instead is focusing on scaling up China. According to a spokesperson for Baidu, there is an increase in domestic demand for robotic taxi services. Therefore, Baidu has been focusing its efforts on developing and building more vehicles, improving technology, and providing a great user experience. Shanghai is the fifth location where Apollo Go’s robotaxi service has been made available to the public.

Baidu’s Apollo Go service in Beijing was expanded into Tongzhou District a few weeks back. This is the area that has been considered the eastern gateway to the city. 22 stations were added over the 31-mile distance. The company introduced 10 fully-driverless robotaxis to the Shougang Park in Beijing, which is a area of 1.2 miles that was used as a testing ground for China’s first robotaxi operation. These cars are completely autonomous and have no human safety operators. The only safety person in the passenger’s seat is there to offer riders reassurance. The cost of each ride is 30 Yuan (or $4.60) per person and it’s open to all passengers between 18-59 years old. Rides are available in Shanghai and everywhere else because it is still in the trial phase.

The Apollo Go app allows riders in Shanghai to summon a taxi from 9:15 to 11:59. They can be dropped off or picked up at any of the 150 stations located throughout the Jianding District. This district is also home to Shanghai University and the Shanghai International Circuit, as well as many other tourist attractions.

Baidu’s Apollo Park in Shanghai, an autonomous vehicle testing, operation and R&D facility, is located here. It will be the home of 200 autonomous vehicles Baidu plans to bring to Shanghai, making it the most populous East China self-driving car fleet.

Baidu has a long-term goal to install 3,000 AVs across China’s 30 largest cities within the next 2 to 3 years. Baidu’s long-term goal is to deploy 3,000 AVs in 30 cities across China, having invested in AV technology research and managed the Apollo project from 2017. Baidu and BAIC Group revealed plans for Apollo Moon in June. The Apollo Moon will be mass produced at a cost of approximately $480,000 per unit, or $75,000. Baidu claims it will make 1,000 vehicles in the coming years. Other models are still to be revealed by Baidu to meet its expanding fleet.

Baidu is committed to expanding Apollo Go by investing in infrastructure. Baidu spokesperson said that the company also plans to invest in V2X infrastructure, 5G-powered and in many intersections in major Chinese cities. Baidu has already installed sensors such as cameras and lidar. Edge compute systems can also transfer information from roads to autonomous systems to help reduce congestion. According to Baidu, intelligent infrastructure will make AVs more reliable and help offset the enormous costs of onboard sensors as well as computing power.

Baidu claims that its robotaxis still depend on their onboard capabilities for L4 autonomy. However, V2X is the future of large-scale deployment.

Publié at Tue 14 Sep 2021, 05:27.04 +0000

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