Baidu Considers Using Tesla’s Robotaxi Tech In China

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Chinese tech giant Baidu says it sees an opportunity to utilize Tesla’s robotaxi tech in its own product offerings to domestic consumers.

The news of Baidu’s consideration, initially reported by Electrek, comes from Shanghai Security News. The outlet quotes Baidu’s General Manager of Autonomous Driving Technology, Xu Baoqiang, as saying that Baidu could use “Tesla’s specific application models” and is considering “possible cooperation opportunities” between the brands.

The Google-esque tech company has been creating HD mapping of major Chinese cities, which means it can provide this mapping tech to companies to roll out their own self-driving products. That (among other things) is precisely why Tesla has partnered with Baidu for more advanced mapping needs as it seeks approval to launch its Full Self-Driving product in China.

Tesla has been working closely with Baidu for some time now. It’s been tied up with Baidu since at least 2020 for in-car mapping and navigation tech. However, the two firms are getting closer as Tesla is already looking to launch its upcoming robotaxi product in China.

Baidu, too, has its own self-driving arm. The company just released the sixth generation of its robotaxi platform which touts a 60% lower cost than other generations. That isn’t keeping the company from exploring potential opportunities with Tesla, though:

“There’s still limited information available regarding [Tesla’s Robotaxi] business model, its status post-release, whether it will enter the Chinese market, and when it might do so,” said Xu Baoqiang in a statement to Teslarati. “From our perspective, we need to further observe its overall application model and the progress of its entry into China.”

Xu also noted that there could be some potential collaboration opportunities, including a product for users within the robotaxi industry—but all of that requires further consideration by the tech giant.

It’s unclear what Baidu could target with a potential Tesla partnership. Its new sixth-gen robotaxi costs around $28,000. It is equipped with 40 separate sensors, including five lidar units, and delivers 1,200 teraflops of computing power onboard compared to 245 TOPS in Tesla’s current FSD “HW4” Hardware. On paper, it seems like a pretty sweet setup.

However, if the company could benefit from anything on Tesla’s end, including its willingness to lease FSD software or perhaps the vehicle form factor as a whole, it seems like a no-brainer to at least consider. Whether or not anything will come of it appears to be an unknown at this time.

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