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China’s Baidu, Inc. has 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.

The steering wheel-free design frees up more space to allow the installation of extra seating, vending machines, desktops, or gaming consoles.

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 utilises 38 sensors, including 8 LiDARs and 12 cameras, to obtain highly accurate, long-range detection on all sides.

Apollo RT6 is the first vehicle model built on Xinghe, Baidu’s self-developed automotive E/E architecture specially for fully autonomous driving.

With a lowered production cost of 250,000 RMB per unit, Apollo RT6 is set to join the Apollo Go ride-hailing service starting in 2023, expanding consistently to reach tens of thousands of units.

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

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Founded in 2000, Baidu’s mission is to make the complicated world simpler through technology. Baidu is a leading AI company with strong Internet foundation, trading on the NASDAQ under “BIDU” and HKEX under “9888.” 

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