By Fabiana Negrin Ochoa
Baidu Inc. is teaming up with BAIC Group to mass produce self-driving "robotaxis" at a fraction of the cost it takes to make a fully autonomous vehicle, the Chinese tech giant said Thursday.
The Apollo Moon generation of robotaxis will cost about $75,029 to manufacture, approximately a third of what it costs to make the average fully self-driving vehicle, Baidu said.
The lower cost of production should boost scalability and help drive the popularization and commercialization of fully autonomous ride-hailing services in China, said Baidu, which will develop the vehicles with BAIC Group's high-end electric-vehicle brand ARCFOX.
Baidu and ARCFOX plan to roll out a fleet of 1,000 Apollo Moon robotaxis in three years. Baidu has already started rolling out robotaxi ride-hailing services in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and other cities in China.
According to Baidu, the Apollo Moon will be armed with a slew of features that make it 10 times more capable than its predecessors, and give it a 99.99% success rate in ride-hailing in complex urban cityscapes. Some of the new features include a seat-belt reminder for rear passengers, an AI voice assistant and mobile app climate control.
Baidu and BAIC Group, the parent of auto maker BAIC Motor Corp., have been collaborating on autonomous driving since 2017.
Write to Fabiana Negrin Ochoa at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires