China’s Baidu Revealed Autonomous Vehicle Without Steering Wheel

Automobile Technology

Baidu Inc., search engine giant of China, revealed its new autonomous vehicle (AV) with a detachable steering wheel, along with plans to put it to use for the company’s robotaxi service in China in 2022.

Baidu said cost per unit will drop to 250,000 yuan for the new model, compared with 480,000 yuan for the previous generation. Robin Li, chief executive of Baidu, said this massive cost reduction will now enable them to deploy tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles across China. He also said they are moving towards a future where taking a robotaxi will be 50 percent of the cost of taking a taxi today.

The new vehicle will now possess autonomous level 4 capabilities that will need no human intervention, along with 8 lidars and 12 camera alongside the car. Lidars are the detection systems, which are similar to radars, which mainly use pulsed laser light rather than radio waves. The company has not disclosed the manufacturer for the new model.

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In a conference, Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla, said the company is aiming to start mass production of the company’s robotaxi without steering wheel or pedals in 2024, and has predicted that a robotaxi ride will now cost less than a bus ticket.

Although, the automobile companies and technology companies across the world are still waiting for nods from regulators to deploy such autonomous vehicles in the real world. The autonomous vehicle will hit the roads without a steering wheel once the authorities of China approve it.

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