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Chinese autonomous vehicle pioneer AutoX today started production of the fifth generation of its autonomous vehicle technology. AutoX Gen5 was introduced at an event in Shanghai and included demonstrations at the Crowne Plaza.
AutoX, which launched in 2016, said Gen5 is a major upgrade that provides seamless navigation of China’s complex urban driving environment. It features 50 sensors and a vehicle control unit of 2200 TOPS computing power. It comes with 28 cameras, six hi-res LiDAR, and 4D RADAR with 0.9-degree resolution that provides 360 degree coverage around the vehicle. AutoX said its LiDAR stack creates 15 million points per second. It claims it can fuse the LiDAR and camera data to ensure no blind spots for the car. The Shenzhen-based company said it has been working on the Gen5 system for 2.5 years.
“Safety is our No. 1 priority, and it has to be built on a reliable foundation,” said Dr. Jianxiong Xiao, CEO and founder of AutoX. “Gen5 was created for fully driverless robotaxis in cities and is designed for the safety of our users and everyone on the road.”
Xiao added that the company’s mission is “to democratize autonomy and provide universal access to the transportation of people and goods.” And so far it is doing just that. In January 2021, it began operating a Level 4 fully driverless robotaxi program for the public in Shenzhen. This was the first time the general public in China could book a ride in a robotaxi that doesn’t have a safety driver.
At the time, AutoX told The Robot Report its fleet of 25 Pacifica minivans will operate within Shenzhen’s Pingshan district. Pingshan is 65 square miles in size. For comparison’s sake, Waymo’s robotaxi service operates within a 50-square-mile radius of Chandler, Ariz.
AutoX became the second company in the world to launch a Level 4 robotaxi service to the public without safety drivers. Waymo accomplished it a few months earlier in late 2020. AutoX won a 2021 RBR50 Robotics Innovation Award for its market innovation. In just five years, AutoX launched its public robotaxi service, showing the rate at which innovation is happening in the space. The company is also the first to obtain permits in four mega cities in China and the second to obtain a driverless robotaxi permit in California, although it has yet to utilize it.
AutoX is also testing a robotaxi service in Shanghai, but uses safety drivers.