Author | Liu Dandan
Edit | Dawn
22 months after the official announcement of making the car, Jidu Auto’s first mass-produced car finally came to everyone.
On October 27th, the limited edition of Jidu Automobile ROBO-01 Moon Probe was officially launched, priced at 399,800 yuan.
As a new brand created by the Internet giant Baidu, which broke into the automotive circle, Jidu is a topic of its own. On the one hand, because Baidu has accumulated many years in the field of autonomous driving, everyone is expecting that after being empowered by Baidu Apollo, Jidu will bring some new surprises in intelligence.
On the other hand, it stems from the gap between marketing and reality. Jidu’s first concept car ROBO-1 held a metaverse press conference, but due to the poor visual effects, the live broadcast was eventually ridiculed as “animation” Film conference”; Jidu positioned its products as automotive robots, but from the product point of view, there has been no revolutionary change.
In addition, due to the placement of the lidar, Li Xiang, the founder of Ideal Motors, Xia Yiping, CEO of Jidu Motors, and He Xiaopeng, CEO of Xiaopeng Motors, also had a “spatial contest”, which attracted a lot of attention.
These disputes and discussions have brought enough traffic and gimmicks to Jidu. However, the most important thing for a car company is the product. After the press conference, the first reaction of many car owners was that the price exceeded expectations but the product was no surprise.
The cool design of the ROBO-01 concept car has been cut off, and the so-called “automobile robot” positioning is still at the conceptual level. It is difficult for everyone to find out how much different the ROBO-01 moon exploration limited edition is from the common smart electric cars on the market. . The price of nearly 400,000 is also far beyond the 200,000 range mentioned by Baidu founder Robin Li.
As the first answer sheet handed over by Baidu Auto, how many points can the ROBO-01 Moon Probe Limited Edition score?
What was the 10% that got cut off?
The concept version of ROBO-01 was unveiled more than two months ago. Xia Yiping said that the mass-produced model will retain 90% of the design and functions of the ROBO-01 concept car . Therefore, at the press conference, one of the questions that everyone is more concerned about is what is the 10% that was cut off.
First look at the appearance, the biggest difference between the ROBO-01 moon probe limited edition and the concept car is the door.
The door of the mass-produced model adopts the common door opening and closing method. The butterfly-wing door and the side-to-side door that have surprised everyone before have been cancelled. This is not difficult to understand. The latter two door opening methods are actually quite common in concept cars, but few of them have actually landed. There are many reasons, such as high cost, not in line with the daily habits of ordinary consumers, and gimmicks outweigh practicality, etc. .
The B-pillars and physical rearview mirrors also return together with the normal opening method. The concept car adopts a B-pillar-free design, which makes the entire passenger compartment look seamless. This design is cool, but for a car, the B-pillar is It is related to the overall strength of the side of the body.
As early as before the press conference, there was speculation that the 10% gap would include the B-pillar. After all, without the B-pillar, it would be difficult to pass the safety crash test. The reason for the return of physical rearview mirrors is very simple. Current laws and regulations do not allow vehicles without physical rearview mirrors to go on the road.
The liftable lidar that once sparked discussions has also been canceled. The concept car is to put a lidar on the left and right of the front hood. This placement method can expand the coverage and improve the detection ability, but it will affect the collision safety.
In the end, the limited edition of ROBO-01 lunar exploration chose to place the lidar on the left and right sides of the front face of the car, just like Xiaopeng P5 and Nezha S. This arrangement also has a disadvantage – it is prone to collision damage and high maintenance costs . Earlier, Xiaopeng P5 accidentally collided with the bumper. The accident was not serious, but the car repair cost 19,000 yuan, of which the lidar accounted for more than 9,000 yuan.
These are the most obvious changes in the limited edition of Jidu ROBO-01 Moon Exploration. There are also some new designs. For example, the interior and exterior of the vehicle incorporate elements related to “Chinese Moon Exploration” to highlight the speciality of the limited edition. On the whole, the limited edition of ROBO-01 moon exploration is indeed as Xia Yiping said, and it highly restores the design of the concept car.
The remaining 90% is also very clear. First of all, it is the door. Although there is no special shape, the design of canceling the door handle has been continued, and the electric suction function has been added. The ROBO-01 lunar exploration version has 6 ways to open and 8 ways to close the door, including UWB key, Bluetooth, NFC, and voice.
In terms of appearance, the overall outline and shape are basically unchanged, and the AI pixel smart headlights on the front face are retained. This headlight has also caused controversy. Guo Tiefu, the former senior director of overseas communication of Gaohe Automobile, questioned that the design was suspected of plagiarizing Gaohe’s ISD light curtain system. Gaohe’s light group is the same as Jidu ROBO-01, supports interaction, and can form different logos according to programming instructions.
In the interior part, the ROBO-01 lunar exploration version has no major changes. Like the concept car, except for the U-shaped steering wheel and 35.6-inch integrated large screen, there are basically no other elements in the cockpit that affect the look and feel, and conventional designs such as the shift lever, left and right paddles, and central control physical buttons have disappeared.
Visually, no physical buttons are sci-fi and cool enough, but the advanced design also has drawbacks, which will extremely test the software capabilities and reliability behind the product. Whether it conforms to the usage habits of consumers also needs to be verified.
It is worth mentioning the steering wheel. Currently, the U-shaped steering wheel is not allowed by domestic regulations. There is still uncertainty as to whether the design of the ROBO-01 lunar exploration limited edition can be retained when it is finally delivered.
belongs to Baidu and belongs to Geely
The name of Jidu has two meanings. The public brand meaning is “the culmination of Baidu’s AI capabilities”, but in private, some people think that its pronunciation refers to Geely and Baidu, both of which are the two major shareholders of Jidu. In other words, it is the “body” and “soul” of the set degree.
In January last year, Geely and Baidu announced that they would form a smart electric vehicle company based on the advantages of both parties. Tianyancha shows that Jidu Automobile has a total of 5 board seats, four of which are from Baidu executives, namely Liang Zhixiang, Li Zhenyu, He Junjie and Zhou Huan, and the remaining seat belongs to Zhang Quan of Geely.
Baidu and Geely hold 55% and 45% of the shares respectively, and the equity gap is not large, but Baidu has absolute dominance. The previous product information exposure and external communication are also promoted by Baidu-related figures, and Geely’s presence is infinitely weakened.
In Jidu, Geely mainly provides the vast platform of SEA and undertakes the role of model production. For car companies, the biggest significance of the platform lies in standardized and modular production, which can reduce research and development costs and time. It is precisely because of Geely’s platform that Jidu can release mass-produced cars in such a short period of time.
In a sense, the ROBO-01 lunar exploration version and the Ji Krypton 001 should be counted as brothers from the same door, but it is difficult to see the similarities between these two cars from the perspective of the models.
The ROBO-01 Moon Probe Edition is a medium and large SUV with a length, width and height of 4853×1990×1611mm and a wheelbase of 3000mm. This size is relatively close to Xiaopeng G9 and Avita 11, which is neither excellent nor hip.
The similarities between these two cars are power. Both the Jikrypton 001 dual-motor version and the ROBO-01 lunar exploration version use front double wishbone/rear multi-link suspension, and are equipped with CATL’s 100kWh ternary lithium battery and dual motors. The total power is also 400kW, but the ROBO-01 lunar exploration version has a slightly slower zero-to-hundred acceleration of 3.9 seconds. Although Jidu did not disclose more detailed battery life data, with reference to the battery life of the Extreme Krypton 001, the ROBO-01 lunar exploration version should be between 610-650km.
The intelligent cockpit and assisted driving that Baidu is responsible for are the parts that are more easily perceived by the outside world.
The ROBO-01 Moon Exploration Limited Edition is equipped with Qualcomm’s fourth-generation Snapdragon digital cockpit platform 8295 chip, which is the first mass-produced 5nm process car-grade chip with an AI computing power of 30TOPS. Compared with the mainstream 8155 chip in the industry, it has nearly 8 times the performance improvement.
With strong computing power and Baidu’s accumulation in speech algorithms, the full-end speech recognition speed of ROBO-01 Moon Probe Limited Edition is as fast as 500ms, and it gets rid of the dependence on network signals. According to Xia Yiping, even if It can also interact smoothly in weak and disconnected scenarios.
The autonomous driving capability is the highlight of the limited edition of the ROBO-01 lunar exploration. Li Yanhong also said before that the key selling point of Jidu is not “tram”, but “intelligence”.
The ROBO-01 Moon Probe Limited Edition is equipped with 31 off-board sensors, including 2 lidars, 5 millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic radars, and 12 cameras. At the software level, the centralized point-to-point pilot assistance PPA has the high-level intelligent driving capabilities of the “three-domain integration” of high-speed domain, urban domain, and parking domain.
However, in the car-making circle with intensified involution, the hardware and software level of Jidu is at the top level but not top-notch. Taking the software as an example, the current models that can support assisted driving in three scenarios of high speed, city and parking include the Avita 11, the new HI version of the Extreme Fox Alpha S, the Feifan R7, and the Xiaopeng P5.
A relevant person in the autonomous driving industry told Shentu: ” The point-to-point pilot assistance of the concentration is just a gimmick. Everyone is at this stage. The assisted driving can’t just look at the advertisements to see the curative effect. You have to run to know how it really performs . “
How big are the ambitions for concentration?
Two months before the launch conference, Jidu held the first auto robot ecological partner conference. At this conference, Xia Yiping systematically expounded the establishment, technology and goals of Jidu.
Among them, the most notable is the “2880 plan” – Jidu plans to have the ability to deliver 800,000 automotive robots in a year by 2028.
Dismantling this goal, the ROBO-01 Moon Probe Limited Edition is the fastest delivery model of Jidu, and the time is set for the second half of next year. This also means that Jidu will achieve an annual delivery of 800,000 in more than 5 years.
What concept is this? For comparison, in 2021, BYD’s new energy passenger car sales will be less than 600,000, and Tesla’s sales in China will be about 450,000; it will take NIO 4 years to complete the delivery of 200,000 vehicles, and Xiaopeng’s more than 3 years.
Jidu wants to have a delivery capacity of 800,000 vehicles in such a short period of time, and has a lot of appetite.
In fact, from the very beginning of the brand’s creation, Jidu has shown great ambition. Last year, Jidu’s plan was to release a new model every other year or year after the first model was launched. According to Jidu, the appearance of the second car will be released at the Guangzhou Auto Show next month.
Before the launch of the new car, Robin Li has written the number of car reservations into OKR, clarifying the goals that Jidu Auto will achieve this year. In the exclusive interview after the launch of the limited edition of ROBO-01, Xia Yiping mentioned a KPI many times – 10,000 units per month .
At present, only Nezha, Leapao, Weilai, Xiaopeng, Ideal and Wenjie are the only new car-making forces that have achieved this month’s sales. Even the “brother model” Krypton 001 failed to exceed 10,000.
Judging from the 1000+1000 bookings of the Moon Probe Limited Edition, it is still difficult for the set to achieve over 10,000 monthly sales. However, unlike other new car-making forces, Jidu does not have to worry about money and people.
The concentration standing on the shoulders of the two giants Baidu and Geely is a veritable second generation of rich. At the beginning of 2021, Baidu announced that it would invest 50 billion yuan to build electric vehicles in the next five years. From last year to now, Jidu has completed about $700 million in financing. A few months ago, Jidu Automobile also made a company adjustment and turned into a red chip structure to pave the way for subsequent capital operations.
At present, the key to concentration is the product and price.
Li Yanhong once revealed that Jidu’s target market is family cars, and the product price is around 200,000 yuan. Although the limited edition model was released this time, the price of nearly 400,000 exceeded the expectations of many scheduled car owners.
“The price of the limited edition of ROBO-01 moon exploration is similar to that of Avita 11 and Xpeng G9. In particular, the design of the two-way door has been cancelled. There is no surprise as a whole.” Song Wei, the owner of the first scheduled car, told Shentu that the price ratio The expectations are high, but the mass-produced models are worse than expected. “I will wait and see other cars. Anyway, the delivery will wait until the second half of next year.”
What ROBO-01 is breaking into is a highly competitive market segment. Almost all new car-making forces have medium and large SUV products. In recent months, Xiaopeng G9, Ideal L8/L7, Avita 11, Q Jie M7 and so on. These products are similar in price and size to the ROBO-01 Moon Probe Limited Edition. They have all the configurations and services that they should have. There is not much special in the collection.
The advantage of Jidu lies in the L4 level autonomous driving technology and the accumulation of massive road test data. Baidu Apollo already has more than 36 million kilometers of autonomous driving test mileage. The Robotaxi road test team is running in more than 30 cities across the country, but it is limited by regulations , L4-level autonomous driving technology cannot be carried on ordinary products. At present, if Jidu wants to impress users, it needs to come up with more dry goods.
In general, from the perspective of smart cars, the hardware and performance parameters of the limited edition of Jidu ROBO-01 lunar exploration are in line with the head level, but it is difficult to be top-notch; from the perspective of automotive robots, Jidu currently does not It shows a qualitatively changed functional experience, which is one of the reasons why everyone is disappointed.
Next, how to balance technology and cost to be worthy of the title of “automobile robot” and speed up mass production and delivery will be a more severe challenge for Jidu.
*The title picture and the pictures in the text are from Jidu Automobile. At the request of the interviewee, Song Wei is a pseudonym in the text.