Technological company Baidu, which is called “China’s Google”, unveiled its first car: it turned out to be the so-called Apollo robot car. It is an unmanned concept car with an unusual body structure and a glass roof, devoid of controls – steering wheel and pedals. The machine can learn and recognize faces and, according to Baidu’s assurances, is equipped with an autopilot of the highest (fifth) level.
The Apollo saloon is entered through the openings of fully automatic gull-wing doors. Thanks to the absence of a steering wheel, it was possible to place a giant curved display on the front panel, because of which reporters have already called the novelty “home theater”. In front of it there is a smaller screen for controlling the functions of the robot car and two Zero Gravity chairs, which reduce the load on the person sitting in them.
Apollo smart systems are able to recognize faces, voice commands and self-learn, constantly progressing. According to the developers, this brings the car closer to a robot capable of acting in various scenarios. In addition, the “firstborn” Baidu received a fifth level autopilot, which does not require human intervention.
The Chinese have not announced any plans for Apollo yet. However, the company does not intend to stop at the demonstration car: according to the head of Baidu, Robin Li Yanhun, the “smart” car will appear in the next two or three years and will look even more like a robot. Earlier it was reported that its development and production will be carried out by the automobile subsidiary of Baidu – Jidu Auto, 45 percent of which is owned by Geely.
Baidu is not the only non-automotive company from China looking to enter the transportation business. Xiaomi Group is going to release its first car by 2025. To develop it, the company has opened a dedicated autonomous driving division and plans to hire 500 engineers. However, unlike Baidu, Xiaomi promises only the fourth level of autopilot.