Friday, August 12, 2022

Baidu launches multi-purpose autonomous shuttles

Chinese internet giant Baidu has launched what it describes as “a new generation of multi-purpose autonomous minibuses”.

Named “Apolong II”, the new vehicles are being rolled out in Guangzhou Huangpu District.

The Apolong II is equipped with advanced autonomous driving capabilities and the latest in-vehicle smart cabin technologies to enhance passenger experience. We recently reported about the recent developments by Easymile. Another player in the autonomous shuttle space. Baidu will mainly concentrate on the Chinese Market while Easymile and Navya will be available in other areas. It is not known yet if Baidu will also sell their cars abroad.

The Apolong II minibus effectively mirrors the powerful autonomous driving capabilities of Baidu’s Apollo Robotaxi by incorporating the latest self-developed autonomous driving computing unit and sensor system.

Its sensor system is enhanced to include two 40-channel LiDAR sensors, which integrate millimeter-wave radars and surround view cameras.

The refined sensor system can now detect up to 250 meters, while positioning accuracy and overall responsivity have reached new levels to be measured in centimeters or milliseconds respectively.

The Apolong II can successfully navigate the complexities of operating on open roads, such as unprotected left turns, lane-switching and crossing traffic scenarios.

The diverse adaptability and extensive applications of the Apolong II multi-purpose autonomous minibus allow it to connect a wide range of traffic scenarios and revolutionize the smart transportation industry.

Its ability to complement other autonomous vehicles or traditional public transport can greatly reduce the walking distance of users, providing a refreshing new take towards solving the last mile problem for citizens.

Apolong II can be repurposed for a magnitude of real-world scenarios by being utilized as public transportation modes, ride-hailing services, scenic tours and more.

The Apolong II utilizes Baidu’s V2X and 5G remote driving service, complete with dual redundancy to ensure safety and reliability.

With seamless vehicle-road coordination, issues related to smart driving for individual vehicles can be reduced by 54 percent, while emergency braking situations at intersections are reduced by 90 percent.

The 5G cloud-based driving can also enable the autonomous minibus to drive safely and smoothly even under extreme circumstances.

Apolong II passengers can also use a HD TV screen to voice-activate and command its in-vehicle DuerOS assistant, having access to navigation features to explore the surrounding area for dining or entertainment recommendations.

As the first commercial-grade autonomous electric minibus launched in China, the Apolong series has been in volume production since July 2018.

The shuttle has already been deployed in 22 urban parks in Beijing, Guangzhou, Xiong’an, Chongqing, Foshan and more . The first-generation Apolong is the only self-driving minibus to achieve large-scale operations in China. As of today it accumulated over 120,000 users and a total mileage of 120,000 kilometers.

The Guangzhou Huangpu District is revered as a benchmark city for new smart transportation infrastructure and stands at the forefront of innovative autonomous driving technology.

Going forward, the Apolong II will fulfil multi-purpose commercialized applications and provide citizens with the ultimate smart transportation experiences by being deployed in public parks, airports, business districts and residential communities in the Huangpu District of Guangzhou.

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