China's New Intelligent EV company JIDU Launches its Limited-Edition Robocar Called the ‘ROBO-01 Lunar Edition'
【Summary】Baidu-backed Chinese electric vehicle company Jidu officially launched its first vehicle, the limited-edition “ROBO-01 Lunar Edition”. It’s a futuristic EV that comes packed with advanced technology and “point-to-point Autopilot” (PPA) autonomous driving capabilities. Jidu's mission is to create and design a “human-centric, smart robotic vehicles with AI-powered human-machine interaction technology.”
China's new crop of electric vehicle startups continue to release advanced battery-powered vehicles. The latest model launched comes from EV maker Jidu, a new company that's backed by internet giant Baidu Inc and automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group ("Geely"), which is the parent company of Volvo Cars.
As a new EV company, Jidu is competing with Tesla and others in the world's biggest auto market, as well as with new EV manufacturers NIO Inc and XPeng Inc. Jidu's mission is to create and design a "human-centric, smart robotic vehicles with AI-powered human-machine interaction technology."
On Thursday, Jidu officially launched its first vehicle, the limited-edition "ROBO-01 Lunar Edition". It's a futuristic EV that comes packed with advanced technology and "point-to-point Autopilot" (PPA) autonomous driving capabilities.
The launch event was held at Jidu's headquarters in Shanghai. Prior to the launch event, Jidu opened pre-reservations for 1,000 of the ROBO-01 Lunar Editions, all of which sold out.
At the launch event this week, Jidu CEO Xia Yiping announced the opening of an additional 1,000 reservations. The first 2,000 customers receive lifetime updates of the ROBO-01's intelligent driving software, a lifetime warranty and lifetime free charging.
The ROBO-01 Lunar Edition is a co-branded model in cooperation with China's Lunar Exploration Project, which is an ongoing project of exploratory robotic moon missions. Following the Lunar Edition of the ROBO-01, Jidu will offer a standard edition model. The delivery of both editions will begin in 2023.
The ROBO-01 Lunar Edition is priced at 399,800 RMB (US$55,253) and includes the same futuristic design elements of the concept car unveiled over the summer. At the time, Jidu said that its ROBO-01 is poised to "revolutionize the automobile industry", leading the way to an intelligent car era powered by advanced artificial intelligence (AI).
The sleek and aerodynamic design of the ROBO-01 gives the EV a drag coefficient of just 0.249. It's equipped with a dual-motor powertrain and a 100kWh ternary lithium battery supplied by CATL. Range is over 600 km (372 miles) and the EV has a 0 to 60mph acceleration time of 3.9 seconds.
PPA is a high-level intelligent driving solution designed to handle highways, as well as crowded urban streets. The system also features automated parking capabilities. The advanced autonomous driving capabilities of the ROBO-01 were developed by Baidu as part of its full-stack, Apollo autonomous driving platform. Jidu is the first automaker in the industry that uses Baidu's Apollo autonomous driving technology.
The ROBO-01 Lunar Edition is equipped with 31 sensors to support its advanced, autonomous driving capabilities. The EV includes LiDAR, five millimeter wave radars, 12 ultrasonic radars, and 12 HD cameras that provide complete 360-degrees of perception coverage.
The ROBO-01 also features dual NVIDIA DRIVE Orin X processors to support AI-powered algorithms and autonomous driving functions. The vehicle's OS is based on Jidu's in-house developed "cabin-driving fusion technology architecture" and offers full redundancy of all autonomous driving hardware and software systems.
Jidu is also the first automaker to launch the 4th generation of Qualcomm's Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform, which delivers immersive 3D graphics on the HD windscreen dashboard display. It's combined with an intelligent cockpit and vehicle software jointly developed by Jidu and Baidu.
The interior of the ROBO-01.
The robocar's advanced autonomous driving capabilities are based on "trainable" functionality and Jidu robocar neural JET (Jidu Evolving Technology) which supports a high level of autonomous driving capabilities.
By the time the first customer's take delivery of the ROBO-01, Jidu says the PPA autonomous driving features will be updated to cover the most driving scenarios of any production vehicle on sale in China.
The ROBO-01 is also the first vehicle in the EV industry to achieve low latency edge processing of voice-powered AI algorithms, with voice recognition speed as fast as 500 milliseconds, and end-to-end voice response speeds of less than 700 ms. By using edge-based AI processing, the system does not rely on cellular network signals to and from the cloud.
The ROBO-01 also features "human-like" interaction capabilities, such as visual perception, voice recognition and lip capture, allowing for "natural and smooth" voice communication between user and the vehicle. The front seat passengers also experience an immersive audio and visual experience.
Inside the cabin, the ROBO-01 features a 3D borderless one-piece HD screen that runs horizontally across the entire dashboard, which is similar to what Mercedes-Benz is offering in the EQS electric sedan.
The cabin of the ROBO-01 is outfitted with spacecraft-inspired zero-gravity seats, which are lightweight and breathable and wrap around the occupant. The seats also include a unique "swan neck" headrest design with an adaptive adjustment function to increase comfort.
In addition, The futuristic ROBO-01 EV is also free of door handles, indicator levers and other physical controls. Jidu says this makes the human-vehicle interaction experience even more natural and seamless.
In April 2021, Jidu CEO Xia Yiping told Reuters that the company aims to invest 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) into producing autonomous cars over the next five years.
In January, Jidu announced it closed on $400 million in Series A financing. Baidu holds a 55% stake in Jidu while the remaining 45% is held by Shanghai Maple Automobile Co., Ltd., a company which Geely serves as the majority shareholder.
Jidu is already planning its EV as a follow up to the ROBO-01. The exterior view of Jidu's second EV is scheduled to be unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show in November.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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