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Baidu Unveils Next-Gen Autonomous Vehicle

The Apollo RT6, set to be released in China in 2023, integrates Baidu’s most advanced L4 autonomous driving system.

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Baidu, Inc. unveiled its next-generation fully autonomous vehicle (AV) Apollo RT6, an all-electric, production-ready model with a detachable steering wheel. Designed for complex urban environments, Apollo RT6 will be put into operation in China in 2023 on Apollo Go, Baidu’s autonomous ride-hailing service. With a per unit cost of RMB 250,000 (~$37,000), the arrival of Apollo RT6 is set to accelerate AV deployment at scale, bringing the world closer to a future of driverless shared mobility, Baidu says.

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“This massive cost reduction will enable us to deploy tens of thousands of AVs across China. We are moving toward a future where taking a robotaxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today,” said Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, at Baidu World 2022, the company’s flagship technology conference.

As Baidu’s 6th generation AV, Apollo RT6 is distinct from previous generations that were otherwise retrofitted on conventional vehicles. The steering wheel-free design unleashes more space to craft unique interiors, allowing for the installation of extra seating, vending machines, desktops, or gaming consoles. At 4760mm long with a wheelbase of 2830mm, the rider-first Apollo RT6 delivers comfort with independent rear seating, ample rear legroom of 1050mm, a purely flat floor and an intelligent interaction system. The Apollo RT6 exterior features a revolutionary look that seamlessly integrates sensors on the sunroof alongside interactive lights and intelligent electric sliding doors to further enhance the riding experience, Baidu says.

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Apollo RT6 integrates Baidu’s most advanced L4 autonomous driving system, powered by automotive-grade dual computing units with a computing power of up to 1200 TOPS. The vehicle utilizes 38 sensors, including 8 LiDARs and 12 cameras, to obtain highly accurate, long-range detection on all sides. The safety and reliability of Apollo RT6 are backed by a massive trove of real-world data, a total test mileage of over 32 million kilometers (~20 million miles) driven by Baidu’s AV to date.

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