Chinese tech giant Baidu, Inc. (BIDU), together with its partner BAIC Group’s ARCFOX, its high-end brand of EVs, announced the launch of their Apollo Moon Robotaxi to be built over the next three years. This launch marks a revolutionary step in the commercialization of fully autonomous ride-hailing services in the smart transportation industry.
A fleet of 1,000 Apollo Moon robotaxis will be mass-produced at a per-unit manufacturing price of RMB 480,000, one-third of the cost of an average L4 autonomous vehicle.
Apollo Moon will be very affordable due to its low production cost compared to the average AV in the sector, which sells for around RMB 1.5 million per unit. (See Baidu stock chart on TipRanks)
Zhenyu Li, Senior Corporate VP of Baidu and GM of Intelligent Driving Group (IDG) said, “The launch of Apollo Moon is an important breakthrough signifying the powerful linkage between China’s leading autonomous driving technology and the most advanced smart vehicle platform, marking a landmark step in the field of robotaxi ride-hailing services globally.”
Baidu’s Apollo Moon uses “ANP-Robotaxi” architecture, a leading navigation pilot product, that can reduce the weight of AV kits while sharing intelligent driving vehicle data to create a closed-loop information ecosystem.
Apollo Moon has improved tenfold compared to its predecessors, with a 99.99% success rate of ride-hailing in complex urban cityscapes.
The Apollo Moon is said to be loaded with features such as a precise failure detector, 5G remote driving service, independent four-door lock controls, seat belt reminder for rear passengers, AI voice assistant, mobile app climate control, and many more.
The Apollo Moon will also have an electronic display on the sunroof showing the status of a robotaxi, which will allow passengers to identify their ride from afar.
Mizuho Securities analyst James Lee recently reiterated a Buy rating on the stock after hosting an investor call with the management.
Lee assigned a price target of $350 to the stock and noted that over the longer term, he expects to see Baidu’s advertising growth outpace GDP at mid-to-high-single digits, citing reasons such as, “successful migration to apps that minimize disintermediation and competitive risks. Further, Baidu’s cloud solutions will scale across industry verticals.”
Baidu scores a “Perfect 10” from TipRanks’ Smart Score rating system, indicating that the stock has strong potential to outperform market expectations. Shares have gained 51% over the past year.