Passenger cars integrated with Driver 3.0 will be available at an established car brand this year, DeepRoute said.
(Car integrated with Driver 3.0 HD map-free driving smoothly in Shanghai. Image credit: DeepRoute)
Many automakers in China are trying to move away from reliance on high-definition maps as they develop self-driving technology. Now, a technology provider has a solution that promises to speed up that process.
DeepRoute, a local self-driving startup backed by Alibaba, today unveiled its new Driver 3.0 solution, which it says is a solution that eliminates the need for high-definition maps and can facilitate mass production for automakers.
DeepRoute.ai is one of the first companies to successfully complete public road tests of autonomous driving without HD maps, thus breaking down the limitations imposed by geo-fencing, it said.
The company is also among the first to win production contracts from automakers to produce self-driving cars for consumer use, it said, adding that vehicles integrated with the Driver 3.0 self-driving solution will hit the market in 2023.
DeepRoute shared a video showing lane-level information around the car being generated in real-time without HD maps.
Driving on its own in Shanghai during rush hour traffic, the car interacts safely with pedestrians, e-bikes and others using the road and remains consistent in all road conditions.
It is capable of adaptive cruise control (ACC), stop and go, obstacle avoidance, unprotected left turns, and other technically complex maneuvers.
Driver 3.0 includes two versions of its autonomous driving solution for automakers, D-PRO and D-AIR.
D-PRO costs $2,000 in hardware and includes operations and features that do not require HD maps, such as Valet Parking Assist (VPA), and point-to-point navigation on all roads without operational design domain (ODD) restrictions.
D-AIR costs $1,000 in hardware and focuses on driver assistance that does not require HD maps, such as Automatic Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Centering Control (LCC), and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
Both versions of the Driver 3.0 solution accelerate automakers’ mass production plans because they comprehensively address concerns about the high cost of mapping and maintenance and the limitations of geo-fencing, according to DeepRoute.
“We focus on rapidly bringing highly advanced, affordable autonomous driving to automobile OEMs,” said Maxwell Zhou, CEO of DeepRoute.
Unlike most other autonomous driving solution providers, DeepRoute is focused on developing an autonomous driving framework and commercializing it by deploying ADAS capabilities first, Zhou said.
DeepRoute strategized the HD map-free approach back in 2020 and began working with OEMs last year based on this approach, he said, adding that without relying on HD maps, smart driving will be available everywhere and affordable for both automakers and consumers.
Passenger cars integrated with Driver 3.0 will be available at an established car brand this year, DeepRoute said, without mentioning the brand’s name.
DeepRoute was founded in February 2019 and became the first company to be able to conduct robotaxi passenger tests in Shenzhen in April 2021.
On September 14, 2021, DeepRoute announced the closing of a $300 million Series B round led by Alibaba, making it the first such company the e-commerce giant has invested in China.
The high cost of self-driving kits is one of the factors preventing the technology from being used at scale, and one of the goals of DeepRoute’s efforts over the past few years has been to bring the cost down.
On December 8, 2021, DeepRoute unveiled Driver 2.0 for under $10,000, nearly the same price as FSD and the lowest recorded in the industry. Driver 2.0 was available in brands including Lincoln and Geely‘s Geometry at the time of launch.
On April 20, 2022, DeepRoute announced its first fleet of 30 vehicles with the Driver 2.0 solution, which will be put into the company’s robotaxi operation in Shenzhen.
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