Baidu’s robotaxi can drive with out a steering wheel, automotive value slashed


Baidu unveiled on July 21, 2022, the sixth technology of its self-driving electrical automotive constructed for ride-hailing rides — at a price almost 50% beneath that of a mannequin introduced final yr.


BEIJING — Chinese language tech large Baidu introduced Thursday it has lower the value of its robotaxi automobiles by almost half, reducing prices for a nascent enterprise.

The brand new automobile, the Apollo RT6, is an electrical automotive that prices 250,000 yuan (about $37,313) to provide — with out counting on a third-party producer, Baidu stated. That value is 48% lower than the 480,000 yuan manufacturing cost announced last year for the Apollo Moon, made in partnership with state-owned BAIC Group’s Arcfox electrical automotive model.

The Apollo RT6 is ready to start out working on China’s roads within the second half of subsequent yr underneath Baidu’s self-driving robotaxi enterprise.

The corporate’s robotaxi enterprise, known as Apollo Go, obtained Beijing metropolis’s approval in November to begin charging fares for rides inside a suburban district. Nevertheless, a human employees member should nonetheless sit within the automotive.

In April, municipal authorities loosened restrictions on whether or not the employees member needed to sit within the driver’s seat, paving the best way to totally eliminating the price of a taxi driver. It stays unclear when the Chinese language authorities would permit robotaxis to cost fares for rides with none human employees within the automobiles.

We’re shifting in the direction of a future the place taking a robotaxi might be half the price of taking a taxi right this moment.

Baidu stated the corporate goals to provide 100,000 Apollo RT6 automobiles over an unspecified time period.

“This large value discount will allow us to deploy tens of hundreds of [autonomous driving vehicles] throughout China,” Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, stated in an announcement. “We’re shifting in the direction of a future the place taking a robotaxi might be half the price of taking a taxi right this moment.”

Learn extra about electrical automobiles from CNBC Professional

Apollo Go operates in 10 cities in China, with plans to succeed in 65 cities by 2025, and 100 cities in 2030, the corporate stated.

Along with Baidu, start-ups comparable to and WeRide are testing robotaxi companies in China.

To increase in China, firms want to check robotaxis and acquire licenses in every metropolis they wish to function in, Elinor Leung, managing director of Asia telecom and web analysis at CLSA, advised CNBC earlier this week.

Till cities acknowledge one another’s testing information, robotaxi firms might want to elevate extra money to check extra automobiles in several cities, she stated.

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