Baidu, the Chinese tech giant, has recently revealed the robocar, a vehicle with no steering wheel and automatic gull-wing doors that is said to be capable of level 5 autonomy. In addition to the robocar, the company launched Luobo Kuaipao, an autonomous driving service platform aimed at boosting the commercialization of its autonomous driving tech.
This year, Baidu announced that its autonomous driving service Apollo had offered over 400,000 rides. The insight gained from the Apollo program, which has been running in megacities across China for the past two years, will provide a solid framework for Baidu to transfer its robotaxi product to commercial operations.
Baidu CEO Robin Li outlined his vision for future mobility at the company’s annual technology conference, along with a new robotaxi mobile platform that intends to make autonomous vehicles more accessible to the general public:
“We believe that cars of the future will be robocars. They will drive autonomously, act as both an intelligent assistant and loyal companion, and be self-learning,” Li said as he unveiled his vision for autonomous vehicles of the future: the robocar.
The new robocar’s design is a striking departure from traditional cars and even existing autonomous vehicles on the market, with automated gull-wing doors and a transparent glass roof, all integrated with exterior sensors.
The interior features zero-gravity chairs, a large curved smart display, and a control pad. The vehicle has no steering wheel and no acceleration/braking pedals. By using voice recognition and facial recognition functions, it is able to analyze the internal and external surroundings and make suggestions to meet passengers’ needs.
According to Baidu, the car has successfully achieved L5 autonomy in a controlled environment, meaning that it has the ability to operate by itself with no human intervention. However, this does not imply that the vehicle is ready for the road, as Baidu has not explicitly said that it intends to produce the robocar.