Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU) has unveiled an autonomous vehicle (AV) equipped with a detachable steering wheel that can be removed or installed as needed.
The Chinese search engine plans to launch its all-electric vehicle, the Apollo RT6, in the domestic market next year as part of its robotaxi service.
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The Apollo RT6 will be offered at a much lower cost of $37,000 per unit, compared to $71,020 for the previous generation, the company said in a statement.
“This massive cost reduction will allow us to deploy tens of thousands of AVs across China,” said Robin Ligeneral manager of Baidu.
“We are heading towards a future where taking a robotaxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today.”
The technological colossus’ self-driving vehicle will possess level 4 capabilities that require no human intervention. It will carry 38 sensors, including 8 lidars and 12 cameras, to achieve very precise and long-range detection on all sides.
Why this matters
Baidu could give a hard time to Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA)Elon Musk. The latter aims to launch mass production of its robotaxi without steering wheel or pedals in 2024, as announced at a conference with investors in April.
Hong Kong-listed Baidu shares ended Thursday’s session down 1.49%, while in the US pre-opening, the firm’s ADR rose 0.18% to 140, $82, according to Benzinga Pro data.