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Baidu to Start Producing Apolong, the Autonomous 14-Seater Bus

Baidu Apolong

The Chinese internet services giant, Baidu has declared that it has started mass production of Apolong which is being touted as China's first L4 fully autonomous 14-seater bus. Apolong is developed in partnership with King Long and is being powered by Baidu's Apollo autonomous driving open platform

China: Baidu, the Chinese internet services giant has announced that it has begun volume production of Apolong, China's first L4 fully autonomous 14-seater bus.

According to the company, Apolong has been developed in partnership with Chinese bus manufacturer King Long and is being powered by Baidu's Apollo autonomous driving open platform. The buses will be put into commercial operation in several Chinese cities including Beijing, Shenzhen, Xiongan, Wuhan and Pingtan of Fujian province, and is aiming for overseas markets.

The production volume of the 14-seat Apolong has reached 100 units at its manufacturing facility in Xiamen, in southeastern China's Fujian province.

Baidu’s Chairman and CEO claimed that 2018 would mark the first year of commercialization for autonomous driving. From the volume production of Apolong, the company is aiming for autonomous driving taking the industry from zero to one.

Baidu announced that it has teamed up with King Long and SB Drive, the autonomous driving subsidiary of Japan's SoftBank Group, to bring Apolong autonomous mini buses to Japan for operation in cities such as Tokyo in early 2019.

Baidu says that Apolong will initially be used in last-mile travel scenarios in tourist spots, airports and other enclosed areas.

Baidu also announced Apollo 3.0, the newest upgrade to the platform, just one year after its debut. Apollo 3.0 includes 'new solutions supporting valet parking, autonomous mini buses and autonomous microcars'. Baidu says the new solutions aim to help 'prepare partners for volume production, evidence of which can already be seen in the volume production of NEOLIX AX1 L4 autonomous microcars for logistics and transport that are already operational in the Chinese cities of Xiongan and Changzhou'.

The Vice President and General Manager of Baidu's Intelligent Driving Group commented that Apollo 3.0 marks a new era for the volume production of autonomous vehicles. Baidu strongly believes that safety is the foundation of volume production. Apollo will continue to work with the company’s partners for pushing forward the transition to intelligent vehicles from traditional vehicles.

Baidu says Apollo has now brought together 116 partners on the open platform. It laid out plans to achieve volume production of L3 autonomous vehicles by 2020 with BYD, China's leading electric car manufacturer and has formed new strategic cooperations with Jaguar Land Rover, Valeo, Byton, Leopard Imaging and Suning Logistics. The platform has amassed more than 220,000 lines of code with over 10,000 developers recommending Apollo open source software.

Apolong will soon be pressed into commercial use in enclosed areas such as tourist spots and airports in several cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiongan. However, by the first half of 2019 Apolong buses are set to enter Japan's self-driving market as shuttle buses at nuclear power stations and in Tokyo to ferry around elderly people in local communities. Baidu operates China's leading search engine, but also invests heavily in services ranging from online payment to connected devices and artificial intelligence (AI) used in autonomous cars and beyond.


According to TechSci Research, the move is anticipated to open enormous potential for the autonomous vehicles and mobility on demand market globally, despite having a few hiccups. TechSci Research predicts that the growing focus of leading automotive and technology companies on autonomous vehicle technologies coupled with favorable government policies and rising concerns regarding safe driving will drive the global semi & fully autonomous vehicle market in the coming years. Over the last few years, increasing demand for alternate transportation means to curb the air pollution levels across the globe as well as to provide better transportation services through a reliable and fast mobile platform are aiding global mobility on demand market.

According to the recently published report by TechSci Research, Global Semi & Fully Autonomous Vehicle Market, By Automation Level (Level 0, Level 1 & Others), By Component (Embedded Systems, Cameras & Others), By Vehicle Type, By Region, Competition Forecast & Opportunities, 2016–2030”, Global semi & fully autonomous vehicle market is projected to exhibit a CAGR of over 21% to reach $ 64 billion by 2030. Growing focus of automotive OEMs on enhancing safety features and increasing government support for developing driverless vehicles are the major factors anticipated to aid the growth of global semi & fully autonomous vehicle market during the forecast period. Moreover, foray of technology giants such as Google and Intel, among others, in autonomous vehicle market is further encouraging adoption of autonomous vehicles, thereby positively influencing the global semi & fully autonomous vehicle market.

According to the recently published report by TechSci Research, Global Autonomous Car Technology Market Forecast and Opportunities, 2035 – ADAS, Semi-Autonomous, Fully-Autonomous”, Global autonomous car technology market is expected to witness a CAGR of over 10% through 2035. The market is currently dominated by ADAS segment, which is expected to maintain its dominance over the next twenty years as well. The dominance of this segment can be attributed to anticipated increase in government regulations pertaining to integration of ADAS technologies in passenger cars. Further, semi-autonomous car technology is expected to witness robust growth over the next ten years, owing to anticipated decline in its average selling price coupled with rising volume sales. Region-wise, North America has emerged as the largest contributor in the market for autonomous car technology, followed by Europe, Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Middle East North Africa (MENA).

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