Baidu’s “Apollo” autonomous driving system is progressing very well, and the company is already informing the world that the moment when it’s going to be incorporated in the first mass-produced car is only a couple of months away. According to a press release shared with us, the Apollo program has reached the following milestones:
- The L4 minibus has driven 10 million kilometers on public roads, giving Baidu the crown of the Chinese king in the field. Nobody else in China is even close to this feat in extensive testing.
- The Apollo Navigation Pilot (ANP) and Apollo Valet Parking (AVP) which rely on cameras and not radars, will enter road testing in 20 cities this year, and 100 cities by 2023.
- The Apollo autonomous driving solution will come as pre-installed in one mass-produced car model before the end of the year and will be present on one million vehicles before the end of 2025. Apollo has announced a collaboration with ‘Chery Automobile’, a Chinese state-owned firm that co-owns Jaguar and Land Rover., so it’s possible that we’ll see something coming from there.
- The Apollo autonomous driving simulation test has surpassed one billion kilometers, generating and using massive amounts of data for self-optimization and continuous learning.
- Apollo will continue to focus on Research and Development, dedicating 90% of its hiring pool to this aspect of its operations.
The L4 bus is capable of level-4 self-driving performance, hence the name, which means high driving automation but not full. It’ll still have a driver who will be ready to intervene if things go wrong or if there’s a system failure. In most circumstances though, human interaction or driver input won’t be needed. Typically, these minibusses are limited to top speeds of 30mph (50kph), which should be perfect for urban areas anyway.