Baidu’s robotaxi can drive without a steering wheel, car price slashed



Baidu unveiled on July 21, 2022, the sixth generation of its self-driving electric car built for ride-hailing rides — at a cost nearly 50% below that of a model announced last year.

Baidu

BEIJING — Chinese tech giant Baidu announced Thursday it has cut the price of its robotaxi vehicles by nearly half, lowering costs for a nascent business.

The new vehicle, the Apollo RT6, is an electric car that costs 250,000 yuan (about $37,313) to produce — without relying on a third-party manufacturer, Baidu said. That price is 48% less than the 480,000 yuan manufacturing cost announced last year for the Apollo Moon, made in partnership with state-owned BAIC Group’s Arcfox electric car brand.

The Apollo RT6 is set to start operating on China’s roads in the second half of next year under Baidu’s self-driving robotaxi business.

The company’s robotaxi business, called Apollo Go, received Beijing city’s approval in November to begin charging fares for rides within a suburban district. However, a human staff member must still sit in the car.

In April, municipal authorities loosened restrictions on whether the staff member had to sit in the driver’s seat, paving the way to fully eliminating the…



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