Baidu unveiled its latest Kunlun II chip at the Baidu World Conference. It’s claimed to be two to three times faster than its predecessor, but what’s more important here is that the unit is an artificial intelligence chip that can be used for self-driving cars as well.
The Chinese search giant, essentially Google’s rival in China, is already planning to build a robotaxi, and these vehicles will drive themselves. In addition, Baidu wants these taxis to be ready for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing.
The name of the chip comes from the Kunlun Chip Technology Company, a semiconductor design company derived from Baidu. It is supposed to be independent and has developed a second generation AI processor. The new chip is made by 7nm processing technology, and its maximum power consumption is 120W.
Its predecessor was released three years ago, and it was also designed for autonomous vehicle applications. The new unit promises to be up to three times faster than its predecessor, while being at least twice as fast.
Baidu is not the only company involved in the development of AI chips for autonomous vehicles and other applications. Until the launch of this new chip, Nvidia’s A100 was considered the most powerful in the field. Until the Chinese company’s chip is tested by an independent company, it is not clear how powerful the new unit can be.
Either way, Baidu wants to use the new microchip in its autonomous vehicles and also wants to sell it to other companies. According to Baidu’s statement, the chip is good for bioinformatics, cloud computing, and intelligent transportation.
Earlier in 2021, Baidu announced the start of a partnership with a local manufacturer to build electric vehicles. The partnership will mean Geely will build the vehicles, while Baidu will provide their software and technology. However, Baidu also partnered with BAIC’s Arcfox to build 1,000 Robotaxis over the next three years.
Until these Baidu electric vehicles are ready, Baidu’s first Robotaxi is already continuing its tests. The Chinese company equipped the crossover with a 360-degree camera on its roof and radar.