With Jidu Robo-01 and Robo-02, Baidu, the Chinese search engine giant, wants to turn the electric car market on its head. In view of the smart features that the Google counterpart wants to give its vehicles, we could actually be in for a revolution on four wheels. We take a look at the exciting models.
Robo-01 and Robo-02 are the first “smart” cars
What Baidu promises with its two robots on four wheels makes not only friends of electric mobility sit up and take notice. At the Guangzhou Auto Show, Robo-01 and Robo-02 could be admired for the first time. Both vehicles come from the Jidu car brand, a subsidiary of the Tech Group. While “only” a concept of the Robo-02 could be admired, a prototype of the Robo-01 could already be seen. Nevertheless, according to Baidu, the first of the two cars will be launched this year, as reported by the German business newspaper Handelsblatt . Given the smart features that Baidu says will make the cars the first “intelligent” vehicles on the road, this sounds quite astonishing. So it’s not just numerous sensors that the company hopes to score points with. Autonomous parking seems to be the most boring feature. On top of that, the cars should namely be able to communicate with passers-by and show emotions in the process.
Unveiling by Baidu took place in the Metaverse
That the Jidu Robo-01 was coming is not news. After all, Baidu decided to unveil the concept back in the summer of 2022. However, that didn’t happen as part of a traditional trade show. Instead, the search engine took to cyberspace and unveiled its plans in the Chinese metaverse Xirang. Here, an avatar drove the car and also presented the features. It was emphasized that the final vehicle will be 90 percent like the concept. Baidu will be able to draw on a gigantic database, especially for its software. After all, the company has been operating self-driving cabs in China for many years, which are said to have covered many millions of kilometers. It is therefore not surprising that Robo-01 is expected to be capable of level 4 autonomous driving.
Modern technology on board
For this to work, of course, the right computing power is needed. Not only the Qualcomm 8295 is supposed to provide this. On top of that, Baidu promises that two Nvidia Orin X smart driving chips will be on board. In addition to computer technology, artificial intelligence also needs suitable sensors. And Baidu does not skimp on this either. In addition to twelve cameras and twelve ultrasonic sensors, two lidar scanners and radar technology are also on board. Tesla recently learned how important the latter is for modern cars. After the US carmaker temporarily relied exclusively on camera technology, it has now returned to the combination of radar and camera technology.
The range of 600 km that the Robo-01 is said to be able to travel also sounds good. Considering the fact that this is quite a large E-SUV, it doesn’t have to hide behind the competition. For example, the EQE SUV unveiled in October 2022 is said to have a range of 547 km. Among other things, the very good cW value of just 0.249 is likely to be responsible for the high range. This is possible due to a retractable spoiler. The other data also reads well. For example, the dual engine is said to provide a total output of 400 kW, which should make acceleration from 0 to 100 possible in under 4 seconds.
The Robo-02 is then supposed to strike into a different notch. This applies in particular to the body shape. The electric car, which is currently in the concept phase, will be a sports coupe. In terms of smart features, the second vehicle under the leadership of Baidu will go one step further. Among other things, the company wants to do away with handles. While these are barely visible in the Robo-01 as retractable handles, they are to be dispensed with completely in the Robo-02. The doors will be opened and closed with the help of a Bluetooth device or voice control. It remains to be seen how much of this gadgetry will make its way into the final production vehicle.
Price and availability
When the Robo-02 will arrive is still up in the air. The Robo-01 is a different story. Baidu still wants to launch its intelligent car in 2023. Manufacturer Jidu promises a special edition that will be fully equipped. In this version, the vehicle is expected to cost 53,000 euros. It remains to be seen how high the prices will be on the European market. The same applies to the final equipment. Finally, Jidu would like to get back to us about this in the course of the year.