Tech giants are moving from flirting with the autonomous car to making it one of their top investments. Baidu, popularly known as “Chinese Google”, has had an autonomous robotaxis system for years, but its work was purely software-centric, in the style of what Waymo and Google also have.
Now the Chinese company has announced his new project: a collaboration with the electric car manufacturer Geely to start mass production of its own “robotic electric car” in 2023.
JIDU: another Chinese electric car brand that will make people talk
Jidu Auto is the ‘joint venture’ born from Baidu and Geely. On the one hand, the company specialized in artificial intelligence and, on the other, one of the Chinese car manufacturers that is pushing the most for electric cars. As explained by Xia Yiping, CEO of Jidu, The first car of this new brand will be presented during the Beijing Auto Show in 2022, which is scheduled for the end of April.
The company’s plans are to launch a vehicle priced below 200,000 yuan, around 30,000 euros. A higher price than what they are looking for but due to the “high costs of the connected components of the car”, they explain.
The great novelty of this new car is that it will take advantage of the ‘Jidu Evolving Technology’ architecture, Combining Baidu’s Level 4 Autonomous Driving Technology with Geely’s Electric Platform. Jidu as such will not have its own factory at the moment, but will be a vehicle produced by Geely.
The dates announced by this company are quite close. In the first half of 2022 they will introduce the autonomous vehicle and in 2023 it will begin its large-scale production, according to explained Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, during their annual conference.
The investment in Jidu is quite ambitious and they expect to invest up to 50,000 million yuan over the next five years, about 7,000 million euros. At the moment they have 200 workers, but they expect to grow to 3,000 before the end of 2022.
In addition to Baidu with Geely, another Chinese giant such as BYD has also announced an alliance with Momenta to develop autonomous cars, although at the moment level 2.
Via | Reuters