AV vehicle costs to continue declining as supply chain localizes, says Baidu

Yusin Hu, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

Baidu announced that it is integrating its AIGC service Ernie Bot across Baidu's operations to enhance user experience. There are also plans for Ernie Bot to be integrated into Apollo Smart Cabin and Xiaodu's smart devices and services, the company said at the latest earnings call on Feb 22.

Baidu reported total annual revenue of CNY123.7 billion (US$17.9 billion) for fiscal year 2022 with 1% yoy-growth. During the call, the company said it will continue investing in expanding its robotaxi service, Apollo Go, and AI-generative content (AIGC) service, Ernie Bot.

The company received the first license to test fully driverless vehicles in Beijing at the end of last year. The fully driverless robotaxi service is already available in Chongqing and Wuhan, while in Wuhan, it has reached more than 100 customers.

As of the end of January of 2023, Apollo Go has received a cumulative order volume over 200 million. According to Li Zhen-yu, SVP and GM of Baidu's intelligent driving group, each vehicle of Apollo Go provides more than 15 rides a day on average in top cities like Beijing, a volume quite close to what a taxi can do.

The company will continue working on attaining green light in more and more cities in China to operate robotaxi fleets and on reducing vehicle costs.

Baidu has unveiled a production-ready autonomous driving vehicle, RT6, in July last year with an estimated manufacturing cost of CNY250,000 (US$36,290).

Li said with Apollo RT6, Baidu is bringing the costs of robotaxi to the price range of mass-market electric vehicles. "We believe vehicle costs will continue to decline in the future, as China's EV market is developing very fast, and the entire supply chain is highly localized. The cost of auto parts still has a lot of room to decrease," Li said.

Baidu is also working with BYD to provide autonomous driving solutions for the carmaker, the company has said.