On April 16, Chinese tech giant Baidu hosted an automotive intelligence conference ahead of Auto Shanghai 2023. At the event, Baidu unveiled a range of new products focused on intelligent driving, cabin technology, and maps. Furthermore, Baidu presented four key capabilities for car manufacturers in its recently published “Baidu Apollo Self-Driving Openness White Paper.
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 the intelligent vehicle industry. In 2026, when intelligent cars become more prevalent, new customers will be less likely to consider cars without intelligent driving capabilities, according to Zhenyu Li, Senior Corporate Vice President of Baidu and president of the Intelligent Driving Business Group.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
The “Baidu Apollo Self Driving Openness White Paper” showed four key capabilities: open experience definition, open independent experience evolution, open full-cycle OTA services, and open co-create with car manufacturing partners. At the same time, Baidu Apollo will 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.