Just over two months after announcing a restructuring of its business partnership to bring its AI-powered 01 ROBOCAR to market, Geely and Baidu have officially launched the futuristic autonomous EV in China. The 01 arrives as the world’s first consumer vehicle featuring Baidu’s full Apollo suite of Level 4 autonomous driving solutions.
In January of 2021, Baidu announced it was expanding from software development into physical EV production, joining forces with multinational automotive manufacturer Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, better known as Geely. By March of that year, the JIDU marque was officially announced following $300 million in startup capital, which was joined by an additional $400 million in Series A funding led by Baidu in January of 2022.
The original brand of JIDU was created to popularize autonomous driving and human-machine interaction technologies, specifically its ROBO-01 concept, which debuted in early 2022 equipped with a unique internal voice interaction system allowing for communication between the “human-car-environment.”
This past August, Baidu’s partner Geely announced it would be taking on a larger role in JIDU as well as a larger financial stake. Previously, Geely owned a 45% minority stake in JIDU, while Baidu owned 55%. However, with the creation of the JiYue marque, Geely now owns a 65% stake and operates the brand under its own umbrella, while Baidu maintains a 35% minority stake.
At the time, a representative for Geely also told Electrek that JIDU will continue to operate as a separate entity and “technology facilitator” to its successor JiYue, which has inherited the previous name’s logo as well as the 01 ROBOCAR which launched today.
JiYue’s 01 ROBOCAR launches in China
It’s wild to think that today marks the official launch of the 01 ROBOCAR because we’ve been following it for over two years now from the time it was a mere concept. JiYue showcased its AI-centric EV at its ROBODAY 2023 event held in Shanghai.
Following the event, we’ve learned some exciting features Chinese consumers can expect to experience when deliveries will begin. To start, the 01 ROBOCAR sits atop Geely’s ever-popular Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), which will come in two battery variations: 71.4kWh and 100kWh, providing 550km (342 miles) and 720km (447 miles) CLTC range, respectively. The EV can also recharge from 10% to 80% in under 30 minutes on a DC fast charger.
The powertrain comes in single and dual motor configurations, offering power of 200kW or 400kW and acceleration from 0-100km/hr (0-62 mph) in 3.8 seconds. JiYue explained that the 01 ROBOCAR launches as the first mass production model to utilize Qualcomm’s 8295 intelligent vehicle cockpit chip, helping power the automaker’s intelligent vehicle AI partner – SIMO. Per JiYue:
SIMO speech recognition speed is as fast as 500ms and covers complex scenarios in and out of the vehicle, four-way simultaneous conversations, and continued conversations. The AI system also integrates multi-modal interactions including voice, gestures, and visual cues to enhance personalization to the users. SIMO is backed by Baidu’s integrated AI system Ernie Bot enabling it to continue growing and develop logical reasoning and strategic planning capabilities.
The ROBOCAR JiYue 01 is the world’s first model to support voice-activated/controlled parking while outside the vehicle. Users can command ROBOCAR JiYue 01 to utilize its AVP autonomous valet parking function to park itself or pickup users in indoor or outdoor parking lots from up to 2km away
Additionally, the 01 ROBOCAR launches with NVIDIA DRIVE Orin autonomous drive chips and vision-centric intelligent drive architecture that features 11 HD cameras, 12 ultrasonic radars, and 5-millimeter wave radars, supporting the EV’s ROBO Drive Max feature.
ROBO Drive Max is a monthly subscription model offering ROBOCAR owners access to the EV’s Point to Point (PPA) navigation assistance, capable of fully-autonomous lane changing and overtakes, highway on and off ramp maneuvering, multi-lane obstacle avoidance, identifying zebra crossing and traffic lights, giving way to pedestrians, unprotected left turns, and avoiding non-motorized vehicles.
JiYue states its flagship EV’s autonomous capabilities including autonomous valet parking, function on 90% of China’s highways and in 3 urban cities – Hangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai –with plans to expand to 200+ additional cities in China in 2024.
JiYue shared that 01 ROBOCAR deliveries will begin shortly now that the flagship EV has officially launched, although the automaker has not shared pricing yet. Looking ahead, the marque says it will continue to develop its second model, originally called the ROBO-2, teased last December.
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