Baidu CEO Robin Li today gave the world a peek at China’s first Level 4 autonomous driving passenger cars, co-developed by Baidu and carmaker FAW Hongqi. Li introduced the vehicles at the 2018 Baidu World Conference in Beijing. The cars will enter mass production by the end of 2019, and their road debuts will be in Beijing and FAW Hongqi’s hometown of Changchun.
Baidu’s L4 self-driving minibus Apolong, also China’s first, was released earlier this year and is now being put into use in urban smart transit solutions. The L4 autonomous passenger cars unveiled by Baidu today will be available for private purchase.
Baidu has accelerated its autonomous vehicle R&D this year. The company is emphasizing the importance of real-time data collection to perceive actual traffic situations, and AI technologies to improve the efficiency of urban traffic operations. Baidu’s cooperative vehicle-infrastructure technology has been deployed in Houchang Village, often referred to as China’s Silicon Valley.
Earlier this week Baidu signed an ambitious partnership agreement with the Changsha Municipal People’s Government and Hunan Xiangjiang New Area Development Group that aims to reinvent the local commute. The company also announced plans for a comprehensive self-driving taxi and bus service in Changsha, the capital of southern Hunan province and birthplace of Mao Zedong.
In July of this year Baidu released Apollo 3.0, the latest version of the platform it calls “the Android of the autonomous driving industry.” Apollo 3.0 introduced a production level solution to provide hardware and software support to enable L4 autonomous driving. It powers the L4 self-driving minibus Apolong.
Baidu has also reached an agreement to develop self-driving electric vehicles with Chinese-owned Volvo Cars, and announced this Wednesday that it is partnering with Ford Motor Co. to test self-driving vehicles on Chinese roads.
Author: Herin Zhao | Editor: Michael Sarazen