Revolution: China showed the first car without a steering wheel

Revolution: China showed the first car without a steering wheel

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The rear seats are unique with two tables to support devices, which can be converted into front seats if it is necessary to drive with the wheel.

While in the US progress seems slower, the technology developed for the operation of the driverless taxi service in China is accelerating at a different speed. Or, at least, it seems. It is true that the asian giant started before and possibly in that anticipation lies the advantage, although we must also consider that, perhaps due to the known communication restrictionsmore problems with this technology are known from California than are known from the country governed by Xi Jinping.

In recent weeks, some investigations have been opened due to accidents with Cruise company carsthe strategic partners of General Motors in the development of autonomous taxis that already work in San Francisco, to understand if there was any failure in the system itself, or if they were collisions that had to do with errors by drivers of the other cars involved.

The image of the Apolo RT6 transporting passengers without a driver and without a steering wheel is the great novelty
The image of the Apolo RT6 transporting passengers without a driver and without a steering wheel is the great novelty

At the same time, on the other side of the world, Baidu, the equivalent of Google in China, just submitted a new vehicle specifically developed for this function that has surprised everyone because it offers the possibility of also dispensing with the steering wheel.

the car is called Apollo RT6 and you’re ready to go production in the second half of 2023in order to present a product that Empower Baidu as a nationwide driverless taxi service provideras the speed at which the network is expanding is staggering.

The distribution of the seats is modified to put a seat instead of the driver if necessary, or include it in a space to share with the other occupants in a more integrated way.
The distribution of the seats is modified to put a seat instead of the driver if necessary, or include it in a space to share with the other occupants in a more integrated way.

Unlike the previous models presented by Apollo, this is the first designed for autonomous driving, for that reason, its morphology is different, and it places the passengers in a different position and distribution inside the passenger compartment. The steering wheel is an option, and in case you want to use it, simply with a button, the system will be available, and the corresponding seat will take the driver’s position. This is because Legislation does not currently contemplate cars without a steering wheel, so having it or not having it visible allows compliance with the regulations.

Apollo RT 6 is equipped with 38 sensors, including eight LIDAR radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, a 6mm wave radar, and 12 cameras for long-range, precision mapping of the environment at all angles. Most of these cameras are located on the roof of the car, which itself is almost completely glazed.

The format of the Apolo RT6 is perfect for transporting passengers, in an environment of large glass surfaces
The format of the Apolo RT6 is perfect for transporting passengers, in an environment of large glass surfaces

The car, which will have Costing the equivalent of about $40,000, it will begin small-scale testing with a few models in the second half of 2023. These will be available on Baidu’s autonomous transportation platform, apollo goin 10 cities in China, including Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijingwhere they have already been made more than a million trips since the launch of its service in 2020.

Currently, the fleet of driverless cars it produces Baidu is about 10,000 units and the company plans to expand it to 100,000 per year by 2030when they hope to be able to provide the service in 100 cities in China.

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