Baidu, China’s Google, is settting up a new company to produce intelligent electric vehicles (EV), and it has signed a deal with Geely, an auto maker that runs Volvo and Geely car brands in China.
Baidu will provide intelligent driving capabilities to power the passenger vehicles for the new venture, and Geely will contribute its expertise in automobile design and manufacturing.
“At Baidu, we have long believed in the future of intelligent driving and have over the past decade invested heavily in AI to build a portfolio of world-class self-driving services. China has become the world’s largest market for EVs, and we are seeing EV consumers demanding next generation vehicles to be more intelligent.” said Robin Li, Co-founder and CEO of Baidu. “As a top Chinese automaker with global reach, Geely has the unique experience and resources to design, produce and market energy-efficient, reliable and safe automobiles in large scale. We believe that by combining Baidu’s expertise in smart transportation, connected vehicles and autonomous driving with Geely’s expertise as a leading automobile and EV manufacturer, the new partnership will pave the way for future passenger vehicles.”
In December last year, Baidu released new intelligent vehicle solutions for automakers and several high-end intelligent driving products during the second Apollo Ecosystem Conference, reinforcing the company’s commitment to win-win partnerships to propel industry development.
The Chinese search giant also announced an enhanced Apollo presence in Guangzhou and demonstrated the progress of the Apollo Go Robotaxi service rollout in Beijing, Changsha, and Cangzhou, underscoring both the commercialization prospects and revolutionary potential of intelligent transportation, intelligent vehicles, and autonomous driving.
“The transportation industry and automobile industry are undergoing a once-in-a-century transformation,” said Zhenyu Li, Corporate Vice President of Baidu and General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group (IDG), during the conference. “With its focus on ‘intelligence’, Apollo is helping automakers to build good cars and governments to build good roads through intelligent transformation.”
Intelligent Solutions and Products for Automakers
Apollo’s four series of solutions include intelligent driving, intelligent cabin, intelligent map, and intelligent cloud.
Intelligent cabin solutions are already empowering 600 types of vehicles from over 70 automakers, with DuerOS for Apollo pre-installed on over one million vehicles. Apollo’s intelligent high-definition map series continued to hold the top market share in 2020 and brought on new automaker partners.
Baidu also announced an advanced solution for passenger vehicles called Apollo Navigation Pilot (ANP), which is powered by Apollo’s L4 autonomous driving technology. ANP is working in cooperation with automakers Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), Weltmeister, and Great Wall Motors to mass-produce Apollo Valet Parking (AVP), an L4 autonomous parking solution. Apollo’s intelligent driving solutions aim to be pre-installed on one million vehicles over the next three-to-five years, bringing a safe and cutting-edge autonomous driving experience to more consumers.
Building an Intelligent Urban Transportation System
Guangzhou Huangpu district also has intelligent transportation MaaS (mobility as a service) platform for robotaxis, robobuses, and autonomous driving utility vehicles.
These will be rolled out in Huangpu, where AI roadside sensors and cloud engines are already set up. Baidu and Guangzhou are also working on a new model for Guangzhou’s digital transportation operator that leverages Baidu’s ACE Transportation Engine – a full-stack solution that stands for “Autonomous Driving, Connected Road, Efficient Mobility” – helping the city establish a leading position in autonomous driving new infrastructure.
Apollo Go to Expand to Thirty Cities
Baidu’s Apollo Go, which operates robotaxis and robobuses in multiple cities such Beijing, Changsha, and Cangzhou plans to expand to roughly 30 cities over the next three years.
Baidu also announced a partnership with ride-hailing app Shouqi to allow users to hail a Robotaxi through the app, opening up a new model of commercialization. Apollo Go has carried over 210,000 passengers.