Baidu Unveils latest Autonomous BEV Minibus

China’s digital giant, Baidu, has announced the launch of its latest multi-purpose autonomous minibus it hopes to go into commercial service in the Guangzhou Huangpu District.

The Apolong II claims advanced autonomous driving capabilities and is aimed at public transport, mobile policing, healthcare providers and other commercial industry scenarios. It is a development of Baidu’s Apollo robo-taxi using the same in-house developed autonomous driving computing unit and sensor system.

However, the minibus boasts 155 upgrades on the taxi including computing power being increased by a multiple of three. Its sensor system is enhanced to include two 40-channel LiDAR sensors, which integrate millimeter-wave radars and surround view cameras. The refined sensor system can now detect up to 273 yards, while positioning accuracy and overall responsivity have been enhanced.

The minibus uses Baidu’s V2X and 5G cloud-based remote driving service, complete with dual redundancy to ensure safety and reliability. Inside the cabin, an intelligent 55-inch transparent window display, jointly developed by Baidu and BOE Technology, has been installed to visually showcase the road conditions and autonomous driving technologies at work.

Passengers can also use this HD screen to voice-activate and command its in-vehicle DuerOS assistant, having access to navigation features to explore the surrounding area for dining or entertainment recommendations. The cabin is designed with a circular seating arrangement and decked out with dome lighting fixtures.

The Apolong series has been in volume production since July 2018 and is already deployed in 22 urban parks in Beijing, Guangzhou, Xiong’an, Chongqing, Foshan among others. The first-generation minibus is the only self-driving minibus to achieve large-scale operations in China, accumulating over 120,000 users and a total mileage of 120,000 kilometers.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *