Baidu unveils new autonomous vehicle with a detachable steering wheel

One of China’s largest tech companies unveiled its latest autonomous vehicle, which includes a detachable steering wheel. The Apollo RT6 from Baidu will serve as a robotaxi in China next year.

As per the announcement, the cost per unit will drop to 250,000 yuan from 480,000 yuan of the previous generation of Apollo vehicles.

Baidu’s Chief Executive Robin Li said this about the new vehicle:

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.

The Apollo RT6 will have level 4 capabilities and has 8 LIDARs and 12 cameras on board.

However, Baidu did not reveal the manufacturer of the vehicle.

The Apollo RT6 will join the Apollo Go fleet. Apollo Go is Baidu’s robotaxi service, which operates across 10 Chinese cities. The company has been on the road since 2020, with human safety drivers on board that can intervene when necessary.

However, as of April 2022, Baidu received permits to deploy without humans in the driving seat on open roads in Beijing.

Baidu did not confirm exactly when the Apollo RT6 would hit the roads, but many believe the vehicle will launch in Beijing.

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