Baidu, China’s Google, Unveils Self Driving Concept Robocar
Most European car manufacturers refer to next-generation electric cars as “future mobility”. This means the future next-gen, tech fest of a car will be driving you to the shops, to work, or to the gym. However, Baidu thinks otherwise. Baidu is China’s internet search engine, the Google of the far east. Because let’s face it why would the Chinese want Google data mining the entirety of China. So Chinese consumers can have targeted ads flung at them to buy something they do not need?
Anyway, Baidu wants to get in on the future of mobility, they refer to it as the Robocar and they revealed their vision at Baidu World 2021. Baidu Robocar is a fully electric, fully Level 5 autonomous self-driving car. Level 5 means the car has 5 levels of driving self-driving capabilities. In simple terms, it means all you have to do is tell Robocar where you want to go and it will drive you to your desired location. And all you have to do is kick back and relax and leave the driving to Robocar.
That is the theory behind Robocar, for now, it remains a PR stunt. Current computer processing power is not yet at a level to offer Level 5 autonomous technology. So the Baidu Robocar is a quirky-looking concept designed to make headlines. That being said Baidu currently runs a ride-hailing robotaxi service limited to a few cities across China. The so-called Apollo taxi service has already reached milestones of 400,000 rides and 14 million km covered.
The data gathered from Apollo will enable Baidu to further develop and refine future autonomous driving technologies. Baidu has partnered with Arcfox, A BIAC electric car brand, to build 1,000 driverless cars over the next three years. However, Baidu’s end goal may not be to develop autonomous cars, rather they will develop the underlying technology and sell it on to car manufactures under license.