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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Baidu Unveils Next-Gen Robotaxi

Baidu has unveiled its next-generation autonomous vehicle, which is ready to provide driverless robotaxis for half the price of traditional taxis.

Photo Insert: The Baidu Apollo RT6

Baidu, Inc., a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company with a strong internet foundation, unveiled its next-generation fully autonomous vehicle (AV) Apollo RT6 at Baidu World 2022, the company's flagship technology conference. The Apollo RT6 is an all-electric, production-ready model with a steering wheel that can be removed.

Apollo RT6, Baidu's next-generation self-driving vehicle, will make its debut in China in 2023 as part of the company's ride-hailing service, Apollo Go. This vehicle was developed specifically for use in densely populated urban areas.

The introduction of the Apollo RT6, which will cost RMB 250,000 (about $37,000) per unit, is anticipated to hasten the deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) at scale and move the world one step closer to a future in which driverless shared mobility is the norm.

"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.

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Apollo RT6 is Baidu's sixth version of autonomous vehicle and stands in contrast to earlier generations, which were instead retrofitted onto more traditional automobiles.

The absence of a steering wheel in the design frees up additional space that may be used to build one-of-a-kind interiors. This space can be used to install additional chairs, vending machines, computers, or game consoles.

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The rider-first Apollo RT6 is 4760 millimeters long and has a wheelbase that is 2830 millimeters. It provides comfort by having independent rear seats, considerable back legroom that measures 1050 millimeters, a totally flat floor, and an intelligent interface system.

To further improve the overall quality of the ride, the exterior of the Apollo RT6 has been given a revolutionary makeover that includes sensors on the sunroof in addition to interactive lights and intelligent motorized sliding doors.

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Apollo RT6 incorporates the latest iteration of Baidu's L4 autonomous driving system. This system is powered by automotive-grade dual processing units that have a computing capability of up to 1200 TOPS.

In order to obtain very precise and long-range detection from all sides, the vehicle is equipped with a total of 38 sensors, including 8 LiDARs and 12 cameras.

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The Apollo RT6 is also backed by a large collection of real-world data, with a total test mileage of over 32 million kilometers (20 million miles) traveled by Baidu's AV to date. This data lends credence to the safety and reliability of the vehicle.

The development of Apollo RT6 represents another significant step toward Baidu's ultimate objective of delivering mobility solutions that are less hazardous, less harmful to the environment, and more effective.

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Since its introduction in 2020, Apollo Go has grown to 10 cities in China, including all cities that fall under the first-tier category, and has fulfilled more than 1 million orders. This makes it the largest robotaxi service provider in the world.

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