Baidu’s Robin Li: Next Commercial Stage of Autonomous Driving Is L4, Not L3
The 2022 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC), under the theme “Intelligent Connectivity, Infinite Multiverse,” was held in Shanghai on September 1. For the event, Robin Li, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Beijing-based tech giant Baidu, was invited to attend and deliver a keynote speech entitled “When AI meets the real economy.” Li said he believes that in the past year, artificial intelligence has made great progress in terms of both technology and commercial application. When talking about autonomous driving, Li emphasized that “L4 of autonomous driving, not L3, is likely to enter the commercial operation stage after L2.” In addition, Li said that changing new things from nothing to well-known things requires persistence, especially in the field of scientific and technological innovation.
This year, milestones in China’s field of autonomous driving have been constantly refreshed, and various policies and regulations have emerged, providing an international leading policy environment for commercialization and large-scale expansion. As of July, Baidu‘s Apollo Go autonomous driving service had accumulated more than 1 million orders, and its operation scope now covers more than 10 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Wuhan.
Li said he believes that the accident liability of L2 and L4 of autonomous driving is clearly defined – that is, the driver for the former and the operator for the latter. L3 needs drivers take over when necessary, which makes it difficult to define accident liability. Therefore, Li thinks it will take longer for L3 to be widely applied.
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Technological progress has enhanced the scale effect of autonomous driving. “When we want to obtain the qualification of automated driving operations in a certain area of a city, it usually takes about 20 days to prepare technically, because the versatility of technology is already very satisfactory. Our automated driving is not achieved through transition fitting of specific areas,” said Robin Li.
At the end of the speech, Li made another appeal, adding that scientific and technological innovation cannot be separated from institutional innovation. At present, the popularization of unmanned vehicles still faces several problems. Self-driving vehicles can’t get into trading markets, can’t get license plates, can’t get rid of safety drivers, and can’t charge for operations. It is also difficult to identify accident responsibility. China’s autonomous driving technology is at the forefront of the world, but it is necessary to continuously promote institutional innovation to realize the integration of artificial intelligence and the real economy.