Chinese tech giant Baidu has unveiled a concept robot called ROBO-01. With it, the company’s EV car subsidiary JIDU and Chinese automaker Geely hope to lead the charge in a world of fully autonomous cars.
The ROBO-01, which Baidu announced on Wednesday, is an all-electric hatchback with gull-wing front doors, a folding steering wheel and a big focus on computing power. The car will employ Baidu’s Apollo platform, which is used by many automakers in China. According to the company, it has accumulated nearly 17 million miles (27 million kilometers) of supervised autonomous driving via robotaxis using the platform.
The car will be equipped with Nvidia’s Orin X chips, as well as 31 external sensors including LiDAR, millimeter wave radar, ultrasonic radar and 12 cameras. The system as a whole, according to Baidu, has been extensively tested and verified through JIDU’s simulated vehicle technology called JIDU SIMUCar.
Baidu also equipped the car with Qualcomm’s fourth-generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform 8295 chip, which allows the car’s large dashboard-mounted screen to display 3D images for navigation, gaming and “online office” scenarios. A “human-like” voice assistant also inhabits the car, providing offline feedback in milliseconds, according to the automaker.
By CEO Xia Yiping via Wired (opens in new tab), the computing power of the training algorithms that power Baidu’s autonomous technology can be compared to that of Tesla’s custom supercomputer called Autopilot (no words, though on how this EV compares to Tesla at the front of the driving range). Yiping also told the magazine that the leap from building software to manufacturing hardware comes from a desire to bring the two ideas together.
JIDU plans to release a limited-resource production model in the fall that will be “90% similar” to the concept renders, and the company will unveil a second iteration of the concept design at this year’s Guangzhou Auto Show.
The concepts are cool, but we’re a little more excited about the EVs we can buy today.