Baidu’s Jidu Auto unveils first ‘robot’ car as intelligent EV unit moves towards mass production in 2023

June 9, 2022 0 Comments

 Jidu Automotive, the intelligent electric vehicle (EV)-making unit of tech giant Baidu, has unveiled a concept car of its AI powered robotic electric vehicle called the ROBO-01 , as it moves towards mass production of EVs in 2023.

The concept car was introduced by Jidu Auto’s chief executive Xia Yiping at an online press conference held on Baidu’s metaverse-themed app Xirang.

Jidu, an EV venture controlled by Baidu and co-funded by Chinese automaker Geely, plans to mass produce the model, which would be 90% similar to the concept car, in 2023.

The robot EVs, which is free of door handles and can be fully controlled via voice recognition, will be capable of achieving level 4 autonomous driving technology that need no human intervention.

The robocar features a retractable yoke steering wheel, a 3D borderless dash screen, 12 cameras and adjustable lidars. Its autonomous driving system operates with two Nvidia Orin X chips

Xia Yi Ping, Jidu Auto’s chief executive and the co-founder and former chief technology officer of bicycle-sharing company Mobike, said that Jidu decided to design and build cars, rather than just sell the software to other carmakers, because of the importance of integrating software and hardware,

“The Jidu robocar aims to meet users’ needs for intelligent travel, in-car intelligent assistance and an intelligent cabin in the new era,” said Xia.

Jidu’s first model will be priced above 200,000 yuan ($29,914.59), Baidu chief executive Robin Li said on a conference call last month. 

According to Xia Yiping, Jidu would raise 50 billion yuan from Baidu and other investors over the next five years, adding that the company could make cars in China’s eastern city of Ningbo, where Geely has several plants.

Baidu and Geely established Jidu in January 2021 with Baidu owning a 55% share of the company, while Geely has a 45% stake.

Baidu’s EV-making plan comes as tech companies around the world race to develop smart cars after Tesla’s success in commercializing electric vehicles.

Baidu’s venture into electric vehicle is also a part of its business divarication strategy. In order to diversify business and discover more revenue stream, Baidu launched its open-source autonomous driving platform Apollo in 2017 to shift its center of focus from search engine, advertising to autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.

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