Baidu Beats Elon Musk's Tesla: New Self-Driving Taxi In China Has Detachable Steering

Baidu Beats Elon Musk's Tesla: New Self-Driving Taxi In China Has Detachable Steering

Chinese search engine Baidu Inc BIDU has unveiled an autonomous vehicle (AV) with a detachable steering wheel that can be removed or installed when required.

What Happened: Baidu said it plans to use its fully electric vehicle, the Apollo RT6, in China next year for its robotaxi services.

The Apollo RT6 will come at a much lower cost of $37,000 per unit compared to $71,020 for the previous generation, Baidu said in a statement.

See Also: China Warns US Of 'Grave Impact' As Nancy Pelosi Gears To Visit Taiwan Next Month

"This massive cost reduction will enable us to deploy tens of thousands of AVs across China," Baidu's chief executive Robin Li said.

"We are moving towards a future where taking a robotaxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today."

Baidu's autonomous vehicle will possess Level 4 capabilities that need no human intervention. The car will use 38 sensors, including 8 lidars and 12 cameras, to obtain highly accurate, long-range detection on all sides.

Why It's Important: Baidu could be giving a tough fight to Elon Musk's Tesla Inc TSLA. The latter aims to start mass production of its robotaxi without a steering wheel or pedals in 2024, Musk had said in a conference with investors earlier in April.

BIDU Price Action: Hong Kong-listed shares of Baidu ended Thursday's session 1.49% lower, while in premarket trading in the U.S., Baidu's ADR was up 0.18% at $140.82, according to data from Benzinga Pro.

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