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China's Research Sub to Attempt Record Dive

The country's first manned science sub goes for global bragging rights

3 min read

When a team of Chinese engineers set out to build the deepest-diving submersible in the world, they had never laid eyes on a manned deep-sea vehicle. "We had only read some reference papers that had pictures; there was no chance for us to see a real manned submersible," says Cui Weicheng, deputy director of the China Ship Scientific Research Center and project manager for the new sub. "We were starting from the very beginning."

This past July, after 11 years of cautious labor, Cui and his team watched their submersible plunge beneath the Pacific waves, bringing three crew members to the ocean floor 5057 meters below. The Jiaolong, named after a mythical sea dragon, is not the deepest-diving manned submersible yet: That distinction still belongs to Japan's Shinkai 6500. But if the Chinese sub successfully dives to 7000 meters next year, as planned, it will take the top honor.

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

With the Robo-01, Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely aim for a fully self-driving car

4 min read
A black car sits against a white backdrop decorated with Chinese writing. The car’s doors are open, like a butterfly’s wings. Two charging stations are on the car’s left; two men stand on the right.

The Robo-01 autonomous electric car shows off its butterfly doors at a reveal to the media in Beijing, in June 2022.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters/Alamy

In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale.

At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China’s Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-range radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

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