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Chinese search engine Baidu to have Apollo RT6 robotaxi fleet

Chinese search engine and artificial engine company, Baidu reveals an autonomous driving vehicle. It is the Apollo RT6 that will be part of Baidu’s Robotaxi fleet. The steering wheel of the vehicle can be removed or installed at an additional cost. The vehicle is priced at 250,000 yuan ($37,000) per unit.

Baidu unveils self-driving robotaxi with removable steering wheel

Image credits- The Financial Express

“This massive cost reduction will enable us to deploy tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles across China,” Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, said at the firm’s Baidu World conference Thursday. “We are moving towards a future where taking a robotaxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today.”  Robotaxi can operate without a driver but must be pre-loaded with a detailed map. Steering wheel-free design allows more space for the installation of extra seating or more features. Baidu, a Chinese search engine and artificial intelligence firm, unveiled its latest electric autonomous driving vehicle on Thursday. “This massive cost reduction will enable us to deploy tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles across China,” Robin Li, co-founder, and CEO of Baidu, said at the firm’s Baidu World conference Thursday.

Robotaxis in China

“We are moving towards a future where taking a robotaxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today.” Baidu already runs Apollo Go, an autonomous ride-hailing service using self-driving robotaxis with safety staff seated in the driver or passenger seat. It has launched Apollo Go in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, although the service is limited to specific areas. The RT6 also attained the industry’s Level 4 out of five possible levels of technology. That means its systems can operate without a driver but must be pre-loaded with a detailed map, thus limiting the areas where the vehicles can operate. Lower levels of technology range from cruise control, a feature that has been available for decades, up to Level 3, which allows hands-free highway driving. Self-driving robot carts already are widely used in factories, warehouses, and other tightly controlled settings.

The steering wheel-free design allows more space for the installation of extra seating or other additions, even a gaming console or vending machine. Baidu is best known for its search engine and online advertising services, but in recent years has invested heavily in autonomous driving and artificial intelligence technology, including automated personal assistants and AI chips. China aspires to lead autonomous driving technology globally but lags the U.S. in introducing such services. Alphabet’s Waymo began offering driverless taxi services in Phoenix, Arizona in 2020.

Credits- News9live

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