April 26, 2023
Baidu has again reiterated its intent to become a world leader in the arena of automated, intelligent driving by unveiling a suite of upgrades for its tech.
The company has already announced plans to establish the world’s largest fully driverless ride-hailing service in 2023, via its Apollo Go platform.
And it flexed its muscles again at April’s Shanghai Auto Show, where it released a series of new products and detailed its vision for the future.
At the heart of all the activity is Baidu’s belief that the auto industry is on the brink of radical change. The company used the Shanghai show to publicly predict that by 2026, more than 15% of the models on the market will be equipped with Level 2+ driving assistance systems, which will include valet parking and navigation pilot aids for both highways and urban areas.
Reflecting the conviction that we are now at a pivotal period, Rob Chu, Baidu’s corporate vice president and GM of Apollo Self Driving explained: “Whoever can take the lead in providing consumers with a safe and secure intelligent driving experience will likely have a head start in the second half of the intelligent car competition.”
Among the upgrades announced were some of Baidu’s solutions for automakers, including Apollo City Driving Max, which is equipped with dual Nvidia Orin X SOCs, with 508 TOPS (trillion operations per second). Apollo City Driving Max also includes lidar and “lightweight” high-definition maps and is the only product currently offered in China that offers vision perception in urban environments.
Also confirmed was an update for Apollo Highway Driving Pro, which includes assisted driving functions such as highway navigation pilot, city autopilot and valet parking. It now uses 50% less computing power, while Baidu announced a deal to supply the tech to new luxury EV automaker Voyah, a division of Chinese state-owned giant Dongfeng.
Enhancements were also confirmed for the autonomous parking solution Apollo Parking, and the company’s in-vehicle navigation maps, which now have a new interface.
The importance of constantly evolving the product line-up was summarized by Zhenyu Li, senior corporate vice president of Baidu, who stated: “In 2026, when intelligent cars become more prevalent, new customers will be less likely to consider cars without intelligent driving capabilities.”
Meanwhile, the company also took the opportunity at the Shanghai show to publish a white paper, “Baidu Apollo Self Driving Openness,” which is aimed at improving cooperation with car manufacturing partners and helping them achieve commercial success.
Baidu is well versed to offer advice in this field, with its intelligent solutions for automobiles featured on 134 models from 31 car brands, with a total of more than 7 million vehicles fitted with its tech.
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