Autonomous driving startups in China are in an arms race to put passengers in their machine-driven vehicles. Every few weeks, news arrives that another major player has got the greenlight to launch a new pilot program or a small-scale service. These press releases, often dotted with regulatory jargon and flowery language to aggrandize the companies' progress, can be confusing. That's why we put together this post summarizing the progress of China's major robotaxi operators -- AutoX, Baidu, Deeproute.ai, Didi, Momenta, Pony.ai and WeRide -- in 2021 while trying to parse what their announcements actually mean.
BEIJING, Dec 27 (Reuters) - China's BYD (002594.SZ) and autonomous driving startup Momenta have established a 100 million yuan ($15.7 million) joint venture to deploy autonomous driving capabilities across certain BYD car model lines, according to a Momenta statement and a person familiar with the matter. The new venture, called DiPi Intelligent Mobility Co and located in Shenzhen, combines BYD's capabilities as an automaker with Momenta's experience in intelligent driving, said the statement on Monday. BYD has invested 60 million yuan in the venture while Beijing-based Momenta is investing 40 million yuan, the person said. The person said the initial scope of work will include deploying "Level 2 plus" autonomous driving capability across some vehicle model lines. Level 2 semi-autonomous cars have technology that can take care of nearly all aspects of driving, from steering to acceleration and braking, but the driver needs to be ready to intervene if needed.
As Baidu accelerates its capabilities in self-driving vehicle technology, we dive into the Chinese tech giant's uniquely collaborative approach. Baidu has become the "dark horse" in the autonomous vehicle arms race. In an effort to play catch up to frontrunners in the US and gain an edge on emerging players in China, Baidu has taken a novel approach to developing self-driving software. From autonomy to telematics to ride sharing, the auto industry has never been at more risk. Get the free 67-page report PDF. The company's Apollo project, which it launched in April 2017, is an open source software platform that's designed to encourage collaboration across the auto industry to accelerate the development of self-driving cars.
Once an industry with long development cycles, the automotive space is being upended by China's tech giants. One can hardly keep up with all the new electric vehicle brands that come out of the country nowadays. Jidu, an electric carmaking company founded by Baidu and its Chinese auto partner Geely only a year ago, said Wednesday it has banked nearly $400 million in a Series A funding round. The new injection, bankrolled by Baidu and Geely, which owns Volvo, is a boost to the $300 million initiation capital that Jidu closed last March. The proceeds will speed up Jidu's R&D and mass production process and allow it to showcase its first concept "robocar" -- which it classifies as an automotive robot rather than a car -- at the Beijing auto show in April.
Chinese technology giant Baidu Inc (9888.HK) expects to supply its Apollo autonomous driving system to 1 million cars in the next three to five years, a senior company executive said on Monday. Li Zhenyu, senior corporate vice president at Baidu, made the remarks at the 2021 Shanghai motor show. Baidu established its autonomous driving unit Apollo in 2017. The unit mainly supplies technology powered by artificial intelligence and works with automakers such as Geely (GEELY.UL), Ford Motor Co (F.N) and GAC (601238.SS). In January, Baidu said it would set up a company with Geely to make smart electric vehicles (EV), which will count on Baidu's intelligent driving capabilities and Geely's car manufacturing expertise.