Thursday, April 25, 2024

Baidu Apollo Helps Manufacturers to Build Smarter Cars

Self-DrivingBaidu Apollo Helps Manufacturers to Build Smarter Cars

Baidu, Inc. yesterday held an automotive intelligence conference on the eve of Auto Shanghai 2023. During the conference, Baidu released a series of new products covering intelligent driving, intelligent cabin, and intelligent maps. Additionally, Baidu introduced four new key-capabilities for car manufacturers in the newly released “Baidu Apollo Self Driving Openness White Paper “.

At the conference, Rob Chu, Baidu Corporate Vice President and GM of Apollo Self Driving, and Shan Jizhang, Founder and CEO of Black Sesame Semiconductor announced that Black Sesame Semiconductor will become the latest chip partner to Baidu Apollo Smart Driving. Additionally, Apollo Highway Driving Pro will be deployed on the Black Sesame’s Huashan II A1000 chip computing platform, which will be officially released in Q3 this year. This partnership marks a deeper collaboration between Chinese smart driving solutions and Chinese smart chipsets, which will further accelerate the smart manufacturing of China’s automotive industry.

The automobile industry is now in a moment of radical change. Baidu predicts that by 2026, the market penetration rate of models equipped with the L2+ advanced intelligent driving solution, valet parking highway navigation pilot and city navigation pilot will exceed 15%, ushering in a transition period in intelligent vehicle industry.

“In 2026, when intelligent cars become more prevalent, new customers will be less likely to consider cars without intelligent driving capabilities,” said Zhenyu Li, Senior Corporate Vice President of Baidu and president of the Intelligent Driving Business Group. Rob Chu, Baidu Corporate Vice President and GM of Apollo Self Driving explained, “Whoever can take the lead in providing consumers with a safe and secure intelligent driving experience will likely have a head start in the second half of the intelligent car competition.”

Upgraded intelligent driving solutions to help car makers build smarter cars 

Baidu Apollo launched its flagship intelligent driving solution, Apollo City Driving Max, which is equipped with dual Nvidia Orin X with 508 TOPS arithmetic power. This is the only solution in China that offers users a coherent experience on urban roads using pure vision perception. The current product definition also includes LIDAR to achieve “pure vision + LIDAR” true perception redundancy. The product uses a “lightweight high HD map” that is nearly 80% “lighter” than the traditional HD maps, enabling rapid urban generalization at a more reasonable cost.

Baidu’s integrated auto-navigation plus valet parking solution Apollo Highway Driving Pro has also completed an algorithm platform upgrade. With the latest single TDA4-VH platform, the AI and CPU computing power usage is 50% less compared to the previous TDA4-VH platform. It is expected to enable more intelligent driving and parking functionality at lower computing power and lower cost. Baidu Apollo and Voyah, an EV manufacturer backed by DONGFENG Motor, also announced the Voyah FREE, an all-electric and plug-in-hybrid 5-seater SUV, will be equipped with Apollo Highway Driving Pro, which includes assisted driving functions such as highway navigation pilot, city autopilot and efficient parking in all scenarios.

In addition, Baidu Apollo also upgraded its autonomous parking solution Apollo Parking, which has a success rate of over 99% in the top 5 most commonly faced parking scenarios and takes only 28 seconds to complete perpendicular parking, drastically reducing the difficulty of parking for novice drivers.

Baidu Apollo currently provides two flagship Intelligent Cabin solutions: the DuerOS for Apollo and Duer assistant for Apollo. The DuerOS can be quickly installed for mass production as a whole package solution; while the Duer assistant, based on the big model localization, is able to achieve full-time full-duplex100 millisecond-level response, through which car companies can define and realize a leading intelligent cabin experience. At the same time, ERNIE Bot – a large language model which Baidu had previously introduced – has been opened up for invitational testing. Baidu is actively exploring the use of ERNIE Big Model’s capabilities to reshape the relationship between the user and the smart cabin when traveling, and to create new experiences for the AI smart cabin.

In terms of smart maps, Baidu Apollo has upgraded its in-vehicle navigation maps with different levels of quality, performance and real-time data. The newly released shared autonomy maps provide a new human-vehicle interface and enhance users’ trust in smart driving solutions. Simultaneously, Baidu’s HD maps have been upgraded to OneMap, which can quickly update map data in real time.

Baidu Apollo’s intelligent solutions for automobiles have been mass-produced on 134 models from 31 car brands, with a cumulative total of over 7 million vehicles, leading in the Tier-1 sector.

Opening up four key capabilities to accelerate the building of a new car-manufacturing supply chain in the intelligent car era

The smart car era requires not only an upgrade of intelligent products but is also challenging the established relationship model between traditional vehicles and suppliers. This is a completely new industrial revolution for both technology companies and car companies. Compared to traditional systems based on mechanical parts, intelligent systems are hardware-based, algorithm software-driven, large-scale dynamic systems that are growing exponentially in complexity.

Baidu Apollo released the “Baidu Apollo Self Driving Openness White Paper, announcing four key capabilities: open experience definition, open independent experience evolution, open full-cycle OTA services, and open co-create with car manufacturing partners. Baidu’s goal is to help car manufacturing partners to achieve a leading position and commercial success in intelligent driving, while ensuring quality end-user experiences.

The four open capabilities can be summarized as:

Pre SOP phase, Baidu Apollo can open up the human-machine interaction interface, core capability SDK and underlying soft interfaces in the form of APIs and SOA services, enabling car companies to define and implement human-machine interaction interfaces and intelligent driving styles in line with their own brand positioning and target audience, and even participate in the technical aspects of smart driving control to improve end-user experience.

Post SOP delivery, Baidu Apollo can open up the Smart Driving Data Closed Loop Cloud and supporting tool chains to car companies. This will support them to build a data closed loop after the launch of new models so that they can independently carry out data-driven Smart Driving experience improvements and help them to have more control and win the Smart Race.

In the longer term (e.g. 3 years) post SOP, if automotive companies want their models to continue to enjoy the capabilities and experience of Baidu Apollo’s main line of intelligent driving products, Baidu Apollo will also provide them with corresponding solutions, such as in the form of quarterly OTAs, to ensure the quality of their models’ smart driving capabilities.

At the same time, Baidu Apollo will also provide technical support and training to the product, R&D and delivery teams of car companies by setting up a joint product committee in cooperation with them to collaboratively build a more complete intelligent driving ecosystem.

“Car manufacturers and Tier-1 intelligence car solution providers should follow the First Principle Thinking. Always go back to the starting point and build a new cooperation model with the goal of providing consumers with a safe and secure intelligent experience and a real sense of gain,” said Rob Chu, quoting the famous proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others. We know that to make a real contribution to China’s automotive intelligence, we must be open and collaborative.”

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