At the Baidu World Congress in 2022, the Chinese technology giant demonstrated its vision for future mobility in the form of a robotic car with level 5 autonomous driving capabilities. “We believe that the cars of the future will be robotic cars. They will drive autonomously, be both smart assistants and loyal companions, and can learn by themselves,” said Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu.

Li believes that the future of smart cars will be more like smart robots. “They can move, they can communicate, they can learn. The robot car is not only your vehicle, but also your driver, secretary, and personal assistant. It will drive automatically, understand your words, accept orders, and continue to learn from you and upgrade to You provide a more personalized experience,” he explained.

The robot car on display adopts a boxy shape, is equipped with gull-wing doors, a transparent glass roof and a front display, allowing visual communication with the surrounding environment. The body is integrated with a set of external sensors to achieve its autonomous driving capability. At level 5, this means that the vehicle can drive itself under all conditions.

Currently, there are no level 5 self-driving cars on the market. Most of the robot taxis being tested by other companies operate at level 4 and need to meet certain conditions for autonomous driving.

The interior of Baidu Robot Car embodies its autonomous driving capabilities, because it contains zero-gravity seats, widescreen curved displays and control panels, and the steering wheel and pedals are obviously missing. Other technical bits here include voice and facial recognition, as well as advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems that analyze internal and external environments to provide predictive recommendations to proactively meet the needs of passengers.

During the event, Baidu played a demonstration of driverless cars driving on the road, which convincingly demonstrated that the vehicle autonomously travels to a location, automatically adjusts the driving direction when a new location is selected, and avoids obstacles in real time. A Baidu spokesperson said during the demonstration: “You can really take a nap while traveling. The space is large enough that you can even stretch your body in the car.”

At present, Baidu’s robot car is still a prototype, and the company has not yet confirmed whether it will be mass-produced.The company is Rely heavily on autonomous driving technology, Because it believes it is a potential profitable business in the future.

Even before the robot car was shown, Baidu had already run its Apollo self-driving taxi service In some cities in China, it can be accessed through the Apollo Go application. As of the end of the second quarter of 2022, the service has provided more than 400,000 rides with a mileage of more than 14 million kilometers, providing a lot of valuable data for the company to further improve its technology.

In Baidu World, the company is seeking to transition its robotic taxi service from the technical verification stage to large-scale commercial operation, which will change the name of Apollo to “Robo Run”. As early as June of this year, Baidu signed a cooperation agreement with Arcfox, an electric vehicle brand under BAIC Group, to produce 1,000 driverless cars in the next three years to support the commercialization of its robotic taxi services in China.

In addition to the expansion of robotic cars and self-driving taxi services, Baidu also announced that it has begun mass production of the second-generation artificial intelligence chip Kunlun II. The 7nm process is equipped with the company’s XPU architecture, and the processing capacity is increased by 2-3 times compared with the previous generation. It can be used in multiple scenarios and is equipped with Baidu Brain 7.0 software.

These include smart transportation and autonomous driving, which is important to the company because it also plans to become an electric car manufacturer.Previously, there were reports that Baidu and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group announced Jidu Automobile Joint Venture A few months ago, the company planned to launch its first electric car within three years.

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