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Baidu’s robotaxi can drive with no steering wheel, automobile value slashed

Baidu unveiled on July 21, 2022, the sixth technology of its self-driving electrical automobile constructed for ride-hailing rides — at a price almost 50% beneath that of a mannequin introduced final 12 months.

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BEIJING — Chinese language tech large Baidu introduced Thursday it has reduce the worth of its robotaxi autos by almost half, reducing prices for a nascent enterprise.

The brand new automobile, the Apollo RT6, is an electrical automobile that prices 250,000 yuan (about $37,313) to provide — with out counting on a third-party producer, Baidu stated. That value is 48% lower than the 480,000 yuan manufacturing value introduced final 12 months for the Apollo Moon, made in partnership with state-owned BAIC Group’s Arcfox electrical automobile model.

The Apollo RT6 is about to begin working on China’s roads within the second half of subsequent 12 months beneath Baidu’s self-driving robotaxi enterprise.

The corporate’s robotaxi enterprise, known as Apollo Go, acquired Beijing metropolis’s approval in November to start charging fares for rides inside a suburban district. Nonetheless, a human workers member should nonetheless sit within the automobile.

In April, municipal authorities loosened restrictions on whether or not the workers member needed to sit within the driver’s seat, paving the best way to completely get rid of the price of a taxi driver. It stays unclear when the Chinese language authorities would permit robotaxis to cost fares for rides with none human workers within the autos.

We’re transferring in the direction of a future the place taking a robotaxi might be half the price of taking a taxi right this moment.

Baidu stated the corporate goals to provide 100,000 Apollo RT6 autos over an unspecified time period.

“This large value discount will allow us to deploy tens of hundreds of [autonomous driving vehicles] throughout China,” Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, stated in an announcement. “We’re transferring in the direction of a future the place taking a robotaxi might be half the price of taking a taxi right this moment.”

Learn extra about electrical autos from CNBC Professional

Apollo Go operates in 10 cities in China, with plans to succeed in 65 cities by 2025, and 100 cities in 2030, the corporate stated.

Along with Baidu, start-ups comparable to Pony.ai and WeRide are testing robotaxi companies in China.

To increase in China, corporations want to check robotaxis and acquire licenses in every metropolis they wish to function in, Elinor Leung, managing director of Asia telecom and web analysis at CLSA, advised CNBC earlier this week.

Till cities acknowledge one another’s testing data, robotaxi corporations might want to increase extra money to check extra automobiles in several cities, she stated.

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