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Baidu Shows Off Autonomous Driving Concept Car

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August 18, 2021

As part of its demonstrations during the Baidu World 2021 technology conference, co-founder and CEO Robin Li unveiled his vision for mobility of the future, alongside a new robotaxi mobile platform that aims to make autonomous vehicles more accessible to the broader public. The company said this also is leading to the era of “autonomous driving 2.0” – moving away from technical verification to large-scale commercial operations.

“We believe that cars of the future will be robocars,” said Li, during a discussion of the robocar with Level 5 autonomous driving capabilities. “They will drive autonomously, act as both an intelligent assistant and loyal companion, and be self-learning.”

Li said intelligent vehicles of the future will be more like intelligent robots: they will move, they will communicate, and they will learn. The robocar will not only be your vehicle, but also your driver, secretary, and personal assistant, he said. “It will drive automatically, understand your words, take orders and continuously learn from you and upgrade to serve you a more personalized experience.

The displayed car features automated gull-wing doors and a transparent glass roof, all integrated with sensors. The interior features zero-gravity seats, a large curved intelligent display and control pad, and there is no steering wheel or gas/brake pedals. In addition, the car includes voice and facial recognition, advanced AI that analyzes the internal and external surroundings and makes predictive suggestions to be more proactive to the needs of passengers.

When talking about the shift to autonomous driving 2.0, Li discussed the development of Luobo Kuaipao, the new robotaxi mobile platform that will prepare for commercial operations of robotaxis. The company announced that the Baidu Apollo autonomous driving service has provided 400,000 rides and driven more than 8.7 million miles across four cities in China (Beijing, Guangzhou, Changsha and Cangzhou). Those lessons provided a foundation for the company to transition its robotaxi offering to commercial operations, which IHS Markit predicted will account for 60% of China’s $347 billion ride-hailing market by 2030.

“Competence in autonomous driving has become the main battleground in the competition among intelligent vehicles,” said Zhenyu Li, senior corporate vice president of Baidu and GM of the intelligent driving group. 

The company also highlighted its Apollo Navigation Pilot (ANP) and Automated Valet Parking (AVP), which leverage AI to bring solutions to driving and parking, and its DuerOS for Auto intelligent voice assistant that personalizes services to meet driver needs throughout the vehicle experience.

The company also outlined its project in Baoding, a city in Hebei Province, where the Baidu ACE Intelligent Transportation Engine (autonomous driving, connected road, efficient mobility) is powering smart traffic signals across the city, optimizing traffic flow to reduce average waiting times by 20%. Baidu said it is expanding this technology into several sectors, including intelligent connected cars, intelligent traffic control, intelligent highways and intelligent parking, with pilot projects in almost 30 cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chongqing.

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