Baidu, better known as “the Chinese Google”, has presented during its Baidu World 2022 which will be its electric and fully autonomous sixth-generation model that they have called Apollo RT6. This vehicle is now ready to start serial production, which is expected to happen in 2023, thus joining the Apollo Go robotaxis fleet that is already in service in various Chinese cities.
The Chinese company, initially, has been characterized as an important Internet search engine on the Asian country; however, in recent years they have been focused on automotive technology, among which are electric vehicles and the development of autonomous driving. This has begun to be implemented through its ecosystem called Apollo, which already has partnerships with brands of outstanding importance in the sector, such as Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen or Geely. With the latter, it has an agreement to expand its software on the electric vehicles produced by the company.
The Apollo Go program has been offering transport on fully autonomous vehicles for just over two years thanks to the inclusion of Baidu’s patented technology. Now the company has introduced renewal of your electric carbeing the first to be built completely from scratch.
According to the data provided by the company, thanks to new advances in the development and manufacture of vehicles, have managed to reach an approximate cost of 37,000 dollars per manufactured vehicle, this, together with the technology that equips it, make it one of the most affordable alternatives on the current market. The co-founder and executive director of Baidu, Robin Li, mentioned that this reduction in the cost of manufacturing will allow the implementation of large fleets of autonomous vehicles in the Chinese country, although at the moment they have no prospect of exporting them to other countries in the world.
Aesthetically, the Apollo RT6 has a particular design in the form of a minivan with certain features of an SUV model. The access doors to the front seats have a “normal” opening, while the entrance doors to the rear seats have a horizontal opening. This is to promote easy access to these seats, as they are the most comfortable and ergonomic in the entire passenger compartment. A sensor module has been attached to the roof, as well as all around the car. A series of interactive lights have also been inserted with which to communicate through key signals with other vehicles and users.
The model equips a total of 38 sensors around its entire body. 8 LiDAR, 6 millimeter wave radars, 12 ultrasonic radars and 12 cameras. This is combined with a 1,200 TOPS computing system (Tera Operations Per Second) of power to reach level 4 of autonomy. By comparison, Tesla’s 2019 FSD computer offered 144 TOPS.
One of the most outstanding points of the model will be its interior. Its occupants can be comfortably accommodated there, with up to four fully adjustable seats. In the first row, the dashboard has been adapted as a table or desk where you can work or carry out other activities. The steering wheel can be hidden under the structure to make better use of the space.
In the rear seats is where the aspects related to convenience and comfort will be more focused, since the first row can be converted into tables on which to support the computer or tablet and work while the vehicle makes the journey by itself. only. The floor of the passenger compartment is completely flat, so that its users can better combine the distribution of its elements.
Since its launch in 2020, Baidu has managed to expand its robotaxi service to 10 Chinese cities and has garnered more than one million trips. In the years to come they expect expand to a total of 65 cities by 2025 and 100 urban settings by 2030.