November 1, 2023
China’s pioneering ROBOCAR 01 has finally been launched to the public, boasting an array of groundbreaking technologies.
The ROBOCAR 01 is being sold under the JiYue banner, a joint venture formed between Hangzhou-based automaker Geely and Baidu, the internet giant that has made great progress across China with its self-driving Baidu Apollo taxis.
And at a media event held in Shanghai, the companies spelled out what customers can expect from the eagerly awaited new model.
Arguably the most significant element of the ROBOCAR 01 is the fact that it is the first car offered to consumers that comes with Baidu Apollo’s full suite of Level 4 autonomous solutions.
Level 4 is defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers as when a car is in complete control of the driving. In the ROBOCAR 01, this functionality is enabled by Nvidia Drive Orin chips, plus 11 high-definition cameras, 12 ultrasonic radars and 5 millimeter wave radars.
According to JiYue, this tech will allow “continuously evolving intelligent drive functions,” but initially what will be offered is a feature called ROBO Drive Max, which will be available on a subscription basis.
This will offer point-to-point navigation and facilitate fully autonomous lane changing and overtakes, highway on and off-ramp maneuvering and multi-lane obstacle avoidance. It can also identify zebra crossings and traffic lights, give way to pedestrians and make unprotected left turns.
At the outset, this functionality will be available on 90% of China’s highways and in three cities – Hangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai – with plans to expand to more than 200 cities next year.
A string of features offered by standard advanced driver assistance systems, such as lane keeping, lane departure warning and intelligent cruise control, are also delivered.
Another highlight is voice-activated autonomous valet parking from outside the vehicle – the first production car in the world to offer this. The ROBOCAR 01’s tech allows users to command the vehicle to park itself or pick up passengers in indoor or outdoor parking lots from up to 1.2 miles away.
Meanwhile, the car’s autonomous capability is bolstered by an extremely high-tech cabin powered by Qualcomm’s 8295 intelligent vehicle cockpit chip.
It also heralds the introduction of SIMO artificial intelligence, which is said to offer ultra-fast speech recognition, four-way conversations and gesture recognition to act on the requests of occupants in as natural a manner as possible. This is complemented by Baidu’s integrated AI system Ernie Bot, which will offer “strategic planning” capabilities.
The car itself is a five-seat SUV that is larger than a Tesla Model Y, and is based on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA). It’s available with two different batteries of 71.4 kWh and 100 kWh, which provide ranges of 342 miles and 447 miles respectively, and is offered with single or dual motor configurations, giving power of 200 kW or 400 kW and acceleration of 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds with the latter set-up.
The car’s journey to the showroom has been remarkably swift, even by Chinese standards. It was first seen as a concept in mid-2022 when it wore JIDU badging, then in August, the JiYue brand was announced, with Geely overseeing sales and production.
No price has yet been confirmed for the ROBOCAR 01.
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