Baidu Will Deploy 1,000 Robotaxis Over The Next 3 Years In China

The Chinese tech giant aims to be the first company to commercialise autonomous driving tech in the country.

  • Baidu’s “Apollo Moon” is a fully autonomous vehicle, made for ride-hailing in China.
  • To build the Apollo Moon, Baidu is partnering with EV brand ARCFOX.
  • The company plans to deploy 1,000 robotaxis over the next 3 years.

Baidu, known as ‘the Google of China,’ has announced new steps in their master plan — a plan to become the first company to scale and commercialise self-driving tech in China.

You see, Baidu is teaming with state-owned BAIC Group‘s ARCFOX to build around 1,000 autonomous vehicles over the next 3 years.

According to Baidu, manufacturing costs are a lot lower than before ($75,000 per car). For those with any knowledge of L4 autonomous vehicles, that’s one-third of the cost.

Low cost means more units, which could position Baidu at the top of the self-driving mountain.

“The launch of Apollo Moon is an important breakthrough signifying the powerful linkage between China’s leading autonomous driving technology and the most advanced smart vehicle platform, marking a landmark step in the field of robotaxi ride-hailing services globally.”
— Zhenyu Li, Senior Corporate Vice President of Baidu

The Apollo platform was launched in 2017 and has gone through multiple iterations before landing with the current Moon.

SAE Level-4 autonomous systems refer to vehicles that can operate without human intervention.

Unlike other self-driving rides, the Apollo Moon utilises “ANP-Robotaxi” architecture. Moreover, the Moon comes with 5G-powered remote monitoring services. Not to mention V2X technology.

It’s this technology (V2X) that connects the Apollo Moon to nearby vehicles, traffic lights and buildings.

It goes without saying, but safety of these vehicles is paramount if these vehicles are to ever see an official launch. Luckily for China, Baidu is taking additional steps to ensure these requirements are met via additional data from roadside units (RSUs).

Baidu calls V2X communications “Apollo Air,” which is fitting given how seamless it all feels.

Baidu described the Apollo Moon as a “monumental milestone in the large-scale commercialisation of fully autonomous ride-hailing services in China,” with all the potential in the world.

If the Apollo Moon takes off big in China, you’d have to assume the Chinese tech giant will be looking to plant its flag elsewhere.

Could they compete with Google’s self-driving car?

Furthermore, could the Apollo Moon make an appearance before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics?

Would you take a ride in a robotaxi? Give it a few years, and we can guarantee you’ll see more self-driving cars on the road. They’re inevitable.

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