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Baidu Aims for the Stars, Wanting to Fit 1 Million Cars With its Apollo Self-Driving System in 3-5 Years

By Ding Yi / Apr 20, 2021 01:14 PM / Business & Tech

Baidu has declared its autonomous driving ambitions at one of the auto industry’s biggest marketing events.

On the opening day of the Shanghai Auto Show on Monday, the search giant said it is aiming to have its Apollo autonomous driving system pre-installed in 1 million vehicles in the next three to five years, a target that came three months after it unveiled plans to set up a joint venture with domestic carmaker Geely to make intelligent electric vehicles powered by its self-driving technologies.

Baidu established its open-source Apollo platform in 2017 with the goal of providing third-party partners access to the necessary technologies needed for the R&D of driverless vehicles including high-definition mapping, obstacle perception and cloud simulation.

At the Shanghai Auto Show Baidu also highlighted two smart driving technologies developed out of the Apollo platform: The Apollo Navigation Pilot (ANP) system, which the company said is more cost-efficient and suitable for mass production when compared with laser-based sensing system. And the Apollo Valet Parking (AVP) system, which it said has been installed in some mass-produced vehicle models including the Weltmeister W6.

With the search engine giant’s revenue derived from online advertising showing signs of stagnation in recent years, Baidu has considered its self-driving business a major potential growth driver. The company has already started exploring commercializing its autonomous vehicle services with two permits allowing it to test the charging of fees for its robobus and robotaxi pilot programs launched in Chongqing and Cangzhou respectively.

During the auto show, other exhibitors also displayed breakthroughs made in autonomous driving. Chinese automaker GAC said that it plans to roll out its first vehicle model with autonomous driving functions developed with Huawei after 2024.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: First Car Equipped With Huawei Self-Driving System Goes on Sale


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