In January 2021, Baidu announced plans to establish an electric vehicle (EV) company and formed a strategic partnership with Chinese vehicle manufacturer (VM), Geely. The result was JIDU and on 8 June 2022 the new start-up unveiled the ROBO-01 concept car, which supports “high-level autonomous driving”.
Self-driving ROBO-01 video
JIDU’s CEO, Xia Yiping, commented: “The Intelligent Car 3.0 Era is the era of robocars. The transition to this new era is marked by the shift of driving power from humans to AI, with robocars ultimately achieving self-generating progress led by AI.
“The automotive industry in the 3.0 era will see a seismic shift from a revolution in energy to a revolution in product attributes. The ultimate goal is to realize a fully driverless transportation experience.”
The robocar was unveiled at an event branded Roboday, where digital human car owner Xijiajia interacted with ROBO-01.
The futuristic look involves a robot-like body with butterfly wing doors and an adjustable rear wing, while the interior features a large integrated screen, “swan neck” headrests and a foldaway U-shaped steering wheel – thus passing our Has it got a steering wheel? test.
The self-driving capabilities are enabled by the Baidu Apollo autonomous driving system, Nvidia‘s dual Orin X chips and 31 external sensors including two LiDAR, five millimeter-level wave radar, 12 ultrasonic radar and 12 cameras.
Self-driving production model
The aforementioned production model will be “90 percent similar” to the concept, sporting its futuristic designs and the U-shaped foldaway steering wheel.
The plan is apparently to prove the model in its home market first, targeting the 25-35 age group, and then go global.