Chinese tech giant Baidu will work together with BAIC Group’s EV brand ARCFOX to develop the Apollo Moon, a new generation of robotaxis that is set to be mass-produced, according to their joint announcement on Thursday.
The Apollo Moon has a projected operating cycle of over five years. Each vehicle will have a price tag of 480,000 yuan ($75,000), only one-third of the cost of average L4 autonomous vehicles.
Baidu Apollo has already begun to roll out Robotaxi ride-hailing services in Beijing (most recently in the Tongzhou area), Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and other cities.
The pair plans to produce 1,000 robotaxis over three years with Level 4 autonomous driving technology.
“As early as 2017, Baidu and BAIC Group entered into a strategic partnership. The launch of Apollo Moon is an important breakthrough,” said Zhenyu Li, Senior Corporate Vice President of Baidu and General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group.
The Apollo Moon utilizes the “ANP-Robotaxi” architecture to reduce the weight of autonomous vehicle kits while sharing intelligent driving vehicle data to create a closed-loop information ecosystem, which will ensure a great user experience.
“Compared with its predecessors, the overall capabilities of Apollo Moon will have improved tenfold with a 99.99% success rate of ride-hailing in complex urban cityscapes, allowing for a fully driverless vehicular experience that is equivalent to that of human drivers,” the two companies said in the announcement.
BAIC Motor, an electric vehicle startup, has so far enjoyed a speedy expansion. It announced earlier this month that it would adopt Huawei’s Harmony operating system in the Arcfox Alpha S Huawei HI model and a new petrol SUV, both of which will be unveiled later this year.
Since Baidu began the research and development of robotaxis in 2019, the company has collected 2,900 patents for intelligent driving and 244 road testing licenses. Its main competitor, WeRide, a global autonomous driving company, in April has obtained a permit to test two passenger vehicles without human drivers behind the wheel on designated public roads in California.