Jidu, Baidu’s electric vehicle company, unveils its first “robot” car

BEIJING, June 8 (Reuters) – Baidu’s electric vehicle (EV) subsidiary Jidu Auto on Wednesday launched a “robot” concept car, the first vehicle unveiled by a Chinese internet company.

The concept car, which has no door handles and can be controlled entirely by voice recognition, was launched at an online press conference held on Baidu’s metaverse-themed app Xirang.

Jidu, an electric vehicle company controlled by Baidu and co-financed by Chinese automaker Geely, plans to mass-produce the model, which would be 90% similar to the concept car, in 2023.

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The ‘robot’ electric vehicles will possess Level 4 autonomous capabilities that require no human intervention and will use Qualcomm’s (QCOM.O) 8295 chips, which will allow users to access offline voice assistance when the internet is connected. is bad.

Baidu‘s electric vehicle manufacturing plan comes as tech companies around the world race to develop smart cars after Tesla’s (TSLA.O) success in bringing electric vehicles to market.

In addition to equipping the vehicle with self-driving software technology powered by Baidu, Jidu will also build two lidars and 12 cameras alongside the car. Lidars are detection systems, similar to radar, that use pulsed laser light rather than radio waves.

“Jidu’s robocar aims to meet users’ needs for smart travel…and smart cabin in the new era,” said Joe Xia Yiping, general manager of Jidu, adding that “the ultimate goal is to realize a fully driverless transportation experience”.

Jidu cars will target users who like advanced technologies, Luo Gang, chief operating officer at Jidu, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

The electric vehicles will be manufactured in Hangzhou Bay in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo, where Geely has several factories.

Jidu has hired former Cadillac designer Frank Wu as head of design, and Wang Weibao, a former member of Apple Inc’s EV Project Titan initiative (AAPL.O), as head of smart driving.

Jidu’s first model will cost more than 200,000 yuan ($29,914.59), Baidu chief executive Robin Li said in a conference call last month.

Smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK) and Didi Global are among Chinese tech giants pursuing car manufacturing ambitions.

($1 = 6.6857 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Alessandro Diviggiano; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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