Baidu World 2020: Latest Breakthrough in the AI Sphere

Robin Li explains how human operator intervenes Robotaxi rides through the 5G Remote Driving Service. (Source: Baidu)

Baidu, Inc. on Sept. 15 held its annual technology conference, Baidu World 2020, in cooperation with CCTV via livestreaming, showcasing its latest innovations in the AI sphere. 

Robotaxi player Baidu Apollo unveiled its up-to-date breakthroughs in Fully Automated Driving. Zhenyu Li, Corporate Vice President of Baidu and General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group (IDG), demonstrated the technology in Beijing’s Shougang Park with CCTV anchor Xiaofeng Bao. 

Latest Apollo vehicle jointly developed by Baidu and FAW Group (Source: Baidu) 

In 2019, Baidu partnered with FAW Group and jointly developed Hongqi EV robotaxi, which is in mass production and comes with Baidu’s proprietary autonomous driving software pre-installed to better guarantee consistency and safety.

Different from the display on Sept. 10 in the Apollo Park, the Fully Automated Driving this time functioned without a safety driver. The “experienced AI driver”, which refers to Apollo’s AI driving system, allows vehicles to run independently. And human operators, who have all completed over 1,000 hours of virtual driving training without any accidents, can intervene through the 5G Remote Driving Service in case of an emergency. 

“With each new generation of Apollo vehicles, the cost will be halved while performance will increase tenfold,” said Zhengyu Li, General Manager of IDG.

Baidu Apollo also announced that vehicle manufacturer Weltmeister will launch a new model incorporating Apollo’s valet parking in 2021, which will be the first in China to be equipped with L4-level autonomous valet parking technology.

DuerOS for Apollo, the most installed system for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), will be applied in millions of smart vehicles with voice-interaction, partnering with over 60 major automotive brands and covering more than 500 vehicle models on the market.

SEE ALSO:Baidu Launches Apollo Go Robotaxi Service in Beijing Apollo Park

Additionally, when asked about the profits of Robotaxi, Robin Li, Chairman of Baidu, responded that the autonomous driving industry will enter the stage of full commercialization in 2025. 

He also estimated that by 2025, major Chinese cities will no longer need to limit vehicle purchases and usage, and by 2030, most traffic congestion issues will be solved by higher transportation efficiency. Future smart transportation infrastructure will improve transportation efficiency by 15% to 30% as well as boost the contribution to GDP by 2.4% to 4.8% in absolute value, according to Robin Li.

Other than Apollo Robotaxi, Baidu revealed its latest conversational AI platform DuerOS and Xiaodu Smart Displays. Xiaodu provides senior citizens with intelligent services that can improve their daily lives, including an all-in-one entertainment system, weather reports, health consultations, etc.

During the livestreamed event, CCTV reporter Li Zheng interviewed an elderly couple who live in Beijing Guofengtangmei Community in Changing District, one of Baidu’s smart elderly services’ trial locations, where over 200 elderly households have been equipped with customized Xiaodu Smart Displays. 

CCTV reporter Li Zheng interviewing an elderly who is a keen user of Xiaodu Smart Displays. (Source: Baidu)

In the hospitality sector, Baidu announced to collaborate with hotel brands to offer wide-reaching applications. The tech giant has provided services for over 100,000 hotel rooms, ranking first in the industry. 

Kun Jing, Baidu Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Smart Living Group (SLG), together with Zhiwei Liang, a reporter from CCTV, experienced smart hotel rooms outfitted with Xiaodu Capabilities at the branch venue at the InterContinental Shanghai Sheshan Shimao hotel.

CCTV reporter Zhiwei Liang interviewing Kun Jing, Baidu Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Smart Living Group (SLG), at the InterContinental Shanghai Sheshan Shimao hotel. (Source: Baidu)

Xiaodu Smart Display X8 (Hotel Version), supported by the DuerOS platform, directed the switches in the room and responded to inquiries under voice control, as showcased by Kun Jing and Zhiwei Liang.

Baidu also introduced XiaoduPods, Baidu’s true wireless smart earbuds powered by DuerOS, which offer functions like voice-controlled searching, navigating, calling, and music playing.

XiaoduPods, Baidu’s true wireless smart earbuds powered by DuerOS (Source: Baidu)

The highlighting feature of XiaoduPods is the “Wandering Earth Mode”, which provides real-time translation for two users speaking different languages.

XiaoduPods are now available for only 199 yuan on e-commerce platforms like Dumall, Pinduoduo, JD.com, etc.

The launch of the Duxiaoxiao virtual assistant app, an innovative search product backed by DuerOS, was one of the spotlights at the conference. 

Duxiaoxiao not only provides users with information and services, but also directly converses with users and answers their questions. Over time, the personality of Duxiaoxiao will evolve according to users’ habits, offering a customized user experience. 

Poster of Duxiaoxiao (Source: Baidu) 

After years of evolution, Baidu App has transformed from a simple search tool into a “super app” with the help of AI technology, offering personalized services to its 230 million daily active users (DAUs) of the app and the 500 million monthly active users (MAUs) of the app’s affiliated Smart Mini Programs.

Haifeng Wang, Baidu’s CTO, at the end of the event introduced Baidu Brain 6.0, the technological foundation of a “new infrastructure” by supporting AI industrial applications and Baidu Cloud. As one of the largest AI open platforms, Baidu Brain has opened more than 270 core AI capabilities for 2.3 million developers.

Haifeng Wang, Baidu’s CTO, introducing Baidu Brain 6.0 (Source: Baidu) 

Wang also shared details about the upcoming next-generation Kun Lun AI processor, aiming to boost the first generation of Kun Lun.