Alibaba-backed Deeproute further slashes L4 drive costs to $3,000 – TechCrunch

Just four months after Deeproute.ai announced plans to sell its self-driving solution at an attractive price of $10,000, the Shenzhen and Fremont-based startup said it had further reduced the cost by around 70% at $3,000.

The advertised price surely stands out, given that Deeproute is promising two to five solid-state lidars, eight cameras, as well as Nvidia’s Drive Orin system-on-chip (SoC) for each of its Tier 4 solutions, the stage of autonomous driving that requires no human intervention in most conditions.

It’s no news that Chinese lidar makers are working to make sensor technology more affordable. Xpeng, a Chinese electric vehicle upstart, said in 2021 it would add lidar made by DJI-affiliate Livox to its mass-produced vehicles.

But even though each lidar unit costs $500, which is already low by today’s standard (they could easily cost tens of thousands of dollars just a few years ago), the sum quickly adds up to 2,500 $ not including cameras and chips.

Deeproute, which is backed by Alibaba and Chinese automaker Geely, declined to disclose the price of its “bulk purchase” of lidar and other components because “suppliers want to keep it confidential”. He shared the breakdown, saying that five lidar sensors cost around 50% and the chip is 30%.

Deeproute works with two partners to achieve affordability. Robosense, a lidar manufacturer also based in Shenzhen, provides its main lidar and Z Vision, a Beijing-based company, provides its blind spot lidar.

The company’s low-cost L4 package, part of its Driver 2.0 self-driving system, will first roll out in a robotaxi fleet comprising 30 SAIC Motor SUVs in Shenzhen in the coming months. The solution also uses 5G remote control and network security redundancy for security measures.

In a bid to further commercialize Driver 2.0, Deeproute said it plans to integrate the solution into mass-produced consumer vehicles in 2024. It will work with Chinese and international automakers, which means the cars could be sold worldwide, with a goal of manufacturing 100.00 of these vehicles.

“We aspire to be the leading enabler of intelligent transportation, bringing advanced, high-performance self-driving capabilities to the market at an accessible price,” Maxwell (Guang) Zhou, CEO of Deeproute.ai said in a statement.

“The launch of this groundbreaking robotaxi fleet offers the industry an exciting glimpse into the future of L4 robotaxis and what is possible for the consumer vehicle.”

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