Robin Li, Baidu’s founder, chairman, and CEO, recently shared some bold predictions about the ROBO-01, a vehicle specifically designed to operate using autonomous driving technologies. The ROBO-01 will be produced by Jidu Auto, an intelligent electric vehicle company backed by Chinese internet giant Baidu and automaker Geely.
During its inaugural partner conference in Shanghai today, Jidu Auto noted that it will work to deliver 800,000 robot cars a year by 2028. The company is running on a tight timeframe, with Jidu aiming to launch a limited version of its first production model in the fall of 2022. A second model is also expected to be unveiled at the Guangzhou auto show in late 2022.
Jidu is a young company, officially launched in March 2021. The automaker has some serious firepower behind it, however, as its vehicles are built on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) platform and powered by Baidu’s autonomous driving technology. Robin Li, for his part, seems very confident about the capabilities of Baidu’s autonomous driving systems.
During the conference, Li noted that in terms of autonomous driving technology, Jidu’s vehicles would be a generation ahead of Tesla. The CEO also noted that Baidu wants Jidu to become the standard for smart cars that is a generation ahead of the competition, according to a CNEV Post report.
“For smart cars, our judgment is that electrification is the halftime game and intelligence is the endgame,” Li noted.
Similar to other concept vehicles, the Jidu ROBO-01 features sleek futuristic elements such as a U-shaped folding steering wheel, a 3D borderless integrated screen, a 3D human-machine co-driving map, and an offline intelligent voice assistant. It also features butterfly doors and “zero-gravity seating.”
But while these design elements and features echo many of veteran auto’s one-off concept cars that never really make it to production, Jidu noted that its ROBO-01 production vehicle would be around 90% similar to its concept counterpart.
It should be noted that Tesla’s most advanced driver-assist system, Full Self-Driving Beta, is yet to be released in China. Thus, while Baidu’s autonomous driving tech may exceed Tesla’s Autopilot capabilities in China today, the internet giant may find itself facing a bigger challenge when the Full Self-Driving Beta is released in the country.
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