Baidu rolls out next-gen robotaxi

Baidu has unveiled the Apollo RT6 next-generation fully autonomous vehicle (AV), which comes with a detachable steering wheel.

Designed for complex urban environments, the fully electric vehicle will be put into operation on Apollo Go, Baidu’s autonomous ride-hailing service, in China in 2023.

Costing about US$37,000, the 6th generation Baidu AV is priced affordably and should accelerate deployment at scale.

“This massive cost reduction will enable us to deploy tens of thousands of AVs across China. We are moving towards a future where taking a robotaxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today,” said Robin Li, Co-founder and CEO of Baidu.

Unlike its previous incarnations which were retrofitted on conventional vehicles, Apollo RT6 is designed as an AV. The steering wheel-free design affords more space to craft unique interiors, allowing for the installation of extra seating, vending machines, desktops, or gaming consoles.

At 4760mm long with a wheelbase of 2830mm, the rider-first Apollo RT6 delivers comfort with independent rear seating, ample rear legroom of 1050mm, a flat floor and an intelligent interaction system.

Its exterior features a revolutionary look that seamlessly integrates sensors on the sunroof alongside interactive lights and intelligent electric sliding doors to further enhance the riding experience.

L4 autonomous driving system

Apollo RT6 integrates Baidu’s L4 autonomous driving system, powered by automotive-grade dual computing units with a computing power of up to 1200 TOPS. The vehicle utilises 38 sensors, including eight LiDARs and 12 cameras, to obtain highly accurate, long-range detection on all sides.

The safety and reliability of Apollo RT6 are backed by a massive trove of real-world data and a test mileage of more than 32 million kilometres to date.

Apollo RT6 is the first vehicle model built on Xinghe, Baidu’s self-developed automotive E/E architecture specially for fully autonomous driving. The vehicle is 100 percent automotive-grade and has full redundancy throughout both hardware and autonomous driving software.

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