Jidu ROBOCAR 01: A lesson from the Chinese, how tech giant Baidu makes electric cars

ROBOCAR 01 - the main trump card of the self-driving technology developed by Baidu

Photo: Yidu

Imagine Google and Ford joining forces to create an electric car. This is how the JIDU ROBOCAR 01 was born, the result of a collaboration between the Chinese technology giant Baidu and the automotive giant Geely. This futuristic SUV is not just a vehicle, but your personal assistant on wheels, enriched with artificial intelligence and autonomous driving. Is this intelligent SUV the future of motoring? Read on and find out! Because its price will also shock you.

JIDU ROBOCAR 01, by no means an ugly car. It received the IF design award for the exterior. The latter may not scream "robotics", but it has its hidden advantages. The front part of the car is elegant and minimalist, with short overhangs, which increases the spaciousness of the interior. Its length is 4.8 meters, and the wheelbase is as much as 3 meters, which is typical for vehicles that are usually longer than 5 meters​.

Photo: Yidu

Design details include integrated LED headlights and matrix LED lights that provide optimal visibility and added aesthetic value. Despite the futuristic design, the exterior is designed with functionality in mind. Short overhangs and a long wheelbase allow for more interior space, which is a key advantage for family SUVs.

Photo: Yidu

However, some of the design decisions are not so exciting. The rear of the car has a very sloping rear window, which limits the utility of the luggage compartment, despite JIDU stating 710 liters volume, which is certainly huge, increasing to a whopping 2,161 liters with the rear seats folded down. While this is impressive, the shape of the boot is a bit shallow due to the steep slope of the rear window​​.

Photo: Yidu

JIDU ROBOCAR 01 it also includes innovative solutions such as foldable sensors and radars that are hidden when not in use, reducing the possibility of damage and improving the vehicle's aerodynamics. This functionality contributes to a clean and smooth exterior, giving the car a modern and elegant look.

Endurance: It's like your own personal spaceship

Enter the cabin of ROBOCAR 01 and find yourself in the future. The interior is inspired by sci-fi spaceships, with a 35.6-inch screen dominating the dashboard. It is powered by the powerful Snapdragon 8295 which ensures flawless performance of all functions. The screen is divided into three segments, including a touch-sensitive instrument panel in front of the driver.

A special feature of the interior is the "yoke" steering wheel, which resembles those in spaceships and allows a better overview of the instrument panel. While the yoke steering wheel adds to the futuristic feel, it can prove less practical in day-to-day driving as it requires adjustments to the driver's habits and handling style.

Photo: Yidu

One of the key features of the interior is the lack of physical buttons. Almost all of the car's functions are controlled via the large touchscreen or via voice commands, which is made possible by the advanced SIMO voice assistant, which can handle commands inside and outside the vehicle. This gives the interior a clean and minimalist look, but may require some tweaking for those used to traditional physical controls.

The seats are upholstered in thin nappa leather, which adds to the futuristic look, but could be improved compared to the competition in this price range. The panoramic roof provides plenty of natural light and increases the feeling of spaciousness. The seats are designed for comfort and have a "zero gravity" function, which means that they reduce the pressure on the body during long drives.

The additional luxury of the interior is contributed by numerous technological accessories, such as 3D maps for the simultaneous driving of man and machine, and a fully interactive environment that enables a personalized experience for each user. All these features together create a cabin that feels like part of the future, where technology and comfort coexist in perfect harmony.

Robot: This car is designed to drive itself

The most impressive feature Jidu ROBOCAR 01 is its ability to drive autonomously. The vehicle uses advanced P2P L4 autonomous driving, which means it can operate completely independently under certain conditions. The Robodrive Max system, developed by Baidu, allows driving without Lidar technology, a rarity in the Chinese automotive world. Instead of Lidar, it relies on a combination of cameras, radars and ultrasonic sensors, which ensures extreme accuracy and safety while driving. The vehicle is equipped with 31 external sensors, including two LiDAR sensors, five millimeter wave radars, twelve ultrasonic radars and twelve cameras, allowing for a complete perception of its surroundings.

The Robodrive Max system offers a wide range of autonomous functions, such as automatic lane change, traffic light recognition, obstacle avoidance and driving management on highway imports and exports. In addition, it enables advanced point-to-point (P2P) navigation, which includes crossing uncovered intersections, detecting pedestrian crossings and giving priority to pedestrians.

One of the special features of this model is the SIMO voice assistant, which can receive commands both inside and outside the vehicle. This advanced assistant enables four-way conversations and conversation continuation, providing users with a natural and fluid interaction. The SIMO system is based on Baidu's integrated AI system Ernie Bot, which enables logical reasoning and strategic planning​ (Electrek)​. If your hands are full of shopping bags, you simply tell the assistant to open the trunk and voila, the door opens by itself.

Photo: Yidu

Besides, it is ROBOCAR 01 equipped with the latest generation of NVIDIA DRIVE Orin chips, which ensure high performance of autonomous driving. This architecture enables fast data processing and ensures a high level of safety and stability of the system, which was verified by tests on JIDU SIMUCar, a simulation vehicle that proved the safety and stability of the autonomous driving system for mass production (Red Dot).

The voice assistant is not limited to the interior of the vehicle; it can also be used outside the vehicle for functions such as automatic parking. For example, the user can activate the autonomous parking function (AVP) with a voice command, which allows the vehicle to automatically park or pick up the user in closed or open parking lots up to 2 km away.

Performance at the Tesla Y level, as one of its main competitors

ROBOCAR 01 is available in three versions that offer different capabilities according to the needs of users. The base model is equipped with a single motor on the rear axle and a 71.4 kWh battery, giving it a range of up to 550 km (342 miles) according to CLTC measurement. This version is ideal for those looking for a balanced combination of performance and range​​.

Photo: Yidu

For users who need more power, a version with two motors and a 100 kWh battery is available. This configuration increases the total output to 400 kW and allows a range of 660 km (410 miles) on a single charge. With two engines, this version is also considerably faster, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in an impressive 3.8 seconds.

The most impressive version, however, is the super long range with a single motor and 100 kWh battery, which allows driving up to 720 km (447 miles) on a single charge. This version is intended for those who need maximum range and reliability on long journeys​​.

Charging is fast and efficient, as the battery is charged from 10 to 80 % in just 30 minutes via DC fast charging. This charging speed ensures minimal idle time and maximum use of the vehicle in everyday life. In addition, ROBOCAR 01 also has an advanced battery management function that optimizes charging efficiency and extends battery life.

A special feature that stands out are the LED lights in the door sills of the vehicle, which show the state of charge of the battery. Each light represents 25 % charges, which allows a quick visual overview of the battery status. This feature is interesting and innovative, but perhaps somewhat unnecessary, as users can check the exact percentage of battery charge via the app or the touch screen in the vehicle​​.

In addition, ROBOCAR 01 also offers the possibility of advanced energy management, which includes regenerative braking and optimization of energy consumption according to driving conditions. With these functions, the vehicle provides the best possible driving experience and maximum efficiency​​.

Driving the JIDU ROBOCAR 01 is smooth and comfortable, thanks to the double suspension leg at the front and the multi-system independent rear axle. The single-engine version accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds, while the fastest twin-engine version does it in just 3.8 seconds.

How much will JIDU ROBOCAR 01 cost in Europe?!

Jidu ROBOCAR 01 prices range from 200,000 to 300,000 RMB (27,000 - 41,500 USD), which puts it in a very competitive segment in the Chinese market. There are three versions available: a basic single-engine version that costs about USD 30,500 (approx. EUR 28,500), a super-long-range version for USD 35,000 (approx. EUR 32,700) and a powerful dual-motor version for USD 43,000 (approx. EUR 40,200).

If these prices were projected onto the European market, where vehicle prices are typically 50 % higher than in China due to higher taxes, duties and distribution costs, the prices would be as follows:

Basic version: approximately EUR 42,750
Super Long Range Version: approximately EUR 49,050
Powerful version with two engines: approximately EUR 60,300

These prices put the JIDU ROBOCAR 01 in direct competition with other high-end electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model Y, Audi Q4 e-tron and BMW iX3. These models offer similar performance and technology, but the ROBOCAR 01 differs with its advanced autonomous driving and integration of artificial intelligence, giving it an advantage in the vehicle segment of the future.

The future is here… the question is, does it have the right origins?!

Jidu ROBOCAR 01 is certainly an interesting addition to the electric vehicle market. Its advanced autonomous driving technology and futuristic design are impressive, but it faces stiff competition. In the rapidly evolving world of electric vehicles, speed of adaptation is key, and while the ROBOCAR 01 is full of innovation, it will be interesting to see how it stacks up against the rest.

Its integration of advanced functions, such as the SIMO voice assistant, which allows the vehicle to be controlled by voice commands both inside and outside the car, and the Robodrive Max system, which allows autonomous driving without Lidar technology, give it a special place among electric vehicles​​ (Electric Cars Report) (Red Dot).

For all fans of technology and the future of autonomous vehicles, the JIDU ROBOCAR 01 is definitely a model that deserves attention. With its combination of performance, comfort and advanced technology, it represents a step forward in the world of motoring. We will follow with interest how this model will perform on the market and how users will accept its innovations.

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