Tech giants flex autonomous muscle at Shanghai auto show

SHANGHAI: Innovation was at the forefront of this year’s Shanghai auto show, with domestic showing off their latest driving offerings and technologies.

Baidu senior corporate vice-president and intelligent driving group general manager Li Zhenyu expects at least six new models with Baidu’s open source driverless operating platform Apollo to be released in the second half of this year.

He said the Apollo navigation pilot will cover 20 domestic cities by the end of this year following the company’s increased commercialisation efforts.

Li expects the system to be pre-installed on one million vehicles over the next three to five years.

Baidu’s Apollo automated valet parking embedded in the Weltmeister W6 model was showcased at the Auto Shanghai, which started on Monday.

The company also revealed intelligent cloud solutions which promise to help developers and autonomous vehicle manufacturers enhance their production processes, understanding of users and car security.

Meanwhile, ride-hailing platform DiDi announced its latest partnership with Volvo on Monday, to expand its test-driving fleet based on its self-driving hardware platform.

Volvo will be providing its XC90 models which are equipped with necessary backup systems for functions such as steering and braking.

This makes Volvo XC90 the first model to integrate with DiDi autonomous driving’s new hardware platform, and it will be used for ride hailing on DiDi’s network.

In Shanghai’s first pilot robotaxi programme last year, DiDi used Volvo XC60s whereby trips could be booked with the ride being monitored by a safety driver and engineer.

The built-in backup systems and safety features on the XC90 will be combined with DiDi autonomous driving’s self-driving system to allow the cars to operate without safety drivers in robotaxi services.

Volvo and DiDi autonomous driving seek to build a long-term partnership as DiDi continues to expand its autonomous test fleets in China and the US to scale up its commercial robotaxi operations.

“We believe shared, electric and autonomous vehicle networks will be crucial for future urban transport systems to achieve the highest safety and sustainability standards,” said DiDi autonomous driving chief executive officer and Didi Chuxing chief technology officer Bob Zhang.

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