Baidu is China’s equivalent to Google, and just like Google, it too has ambitions to market self-driving electric cars. The Chinese internet company announced it wanted to get into the electric car game back in 2020, and not long ago it announced Geely as a strategic partner (as did Google's Waymo).
Now it is teasing a vehicle it plans to launch in 2023 under a new brand called JiDU. They call it Robocar and it will be fully unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show in April, but the teaser does give us a glimpse at the upcoming study said to be 90 percent representative of next year’s production vehicle.
We aren’t shown much in the teaser, although we can see the vehicle will have sensors that come out of its hood, like small turrets, and then they retract and are covered by a flap. We can’t quite make out what body type it is, but it appears to have frameless doors that not only open outward, but also upward (this could just be feature of the concept, though, and not make it to production).
Gallery: JiDU Robocar
Yiping Xia, CEO of JiDU, said
JiDU has completed the visual and functional design of the Robocar concept car, which will make its debut in April as planned. Let's set off towards an infinitely possible future together!
JIDU also wants the world to know that its products will rely a lot on artificial intelligence (AI) technology, although it did not clearly specify what level of autonomy it’s targeting for its first production vehicle (most likely Level 3 or 4).
The company also seems especially proud of its logo, called Pixel-J, pointing to the fact that it is the first logo specifically created for a vehicle designed to be autonomous. We’re not entirely sure that’s true, but it’s certainly much better and more modern compared to many logos adorning the grilles of new Chinese cars.
We also don’t know where the company intends to do business, whether or not it will sell cars outside China. But it will have stern opposition at home, from the likes of the XPeng P5 sedan, the world’s first production vehicle equipped with LiDAR and advanced self-driving capability.