“Automotive cars and delicious Peking Duck ” Travelogue of Director China Window

By: Naz Parvin

2nd Episode

It was written in our destiny to go to China. We received an invitation from the Chinese Embassy. This tour was hosted by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, while the China Center for International Communications Development of the China International Group organized it. It was a ten-day program from 6th to 16th December. It was clear from the beginning that everything was being organized systematically. The group was headed by Mr. Liu Chang. We received a detailed program along with the invitation letter.

During my stay in Beijing, I also had the opportunity to visit various high-tech institutes, including Apollo Park. It was a great experience for us residents of developing countries to visit such institutes, where we saw the rapid development of China. There were excellent opportunities to observe the development

 “Apollo Park – Baidu”

Beidou announced that it has completed construction on the world’s largest testing base for autonomous driving and road-connected applications in Beijing. The 13,500 square meter Apollo will provide services from research and development to testing of Baidu’s self-driving platform Apollo. According to Baidu Apollo’s official news account, the base can perform five main functions: car and equipment warehousing, remote control operation including big data technology, operational command, maintenance and calibration, as well as research, development and testing. Apollo Park is located in the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area (Yezhuang Development Area) in the southeastern part of the Chinese capital. The state-level zone had announced late last year to open the entire area comprising a total of 111 roads with a total distance of 322 km for autonomous driving tests.will Officials noted at the time that the BDA hopes to complete the online vehicle hailing project with self-driving cars this year. Baidu received the first batch of 40 licenses for human-powered autonomous driving tests in Beijing late last year, and the firm has acquired 120 such licenses, the first among all Chinese companies. Baidu has also invested the most in self-driving test vehicles over the past two years, with the highest mileage for such tests in Beijing, according to Apollo data. Baidu began researching and developing technologies related to autonomous driving in 2013, and in 2017 launched Apollo, an R&D platform open to the public. And as of late last year, the platform’s self-driving vehicles were tested in 2023. Chinese cities, total road of more than 3 million kilometers
With test mileage.
Chinese internet search giant Baidu Inc announced that it has fully opened its self-driving taxi service Apollo Go Robotaxi to the public in Beijing, becoming the first company to transport passengers in autonomous vehicles in the capital. has gone With a fleet of 40 vehicles, the service covers the largest total area for an autonomous driving test area in China and the longest road network of nearly 700 kilometers. It has set up nearly 100 pick-up and drop-off stations in residential and business areas in Beijing’s Yizhuang, Haidian and Shunyi districts. Passengers in Beijing can hail autonomous taxis for free without reservation via the Baidu Maps or Apollo Go apps. The move comes after the Beijing-based tech company opened its robotaxi service to the public in Kangzhou, Hebei province, in August, extending robotaxi coverage to a central city area for the first time in China. In April, Baidu opened its self-driving taxi service in Changsha, Hunan Province. Robotaxis provides free rides to passengers within an area of 130 square kilometers.

, Excursion to “Apollo Park”.

One of the special things about this trip to China was that in our booklet, there were many types of park tours in different cities. Hearing the name of the park, we Pakistanis would think of greenery, swings, food and drink, and fun. Yes, but a visit to these parks in China proved this impression wrong. We entered the Apollo Park. There was definitely a question in the mind that why a Chinese company was named Apollo. We got the answer immediately as we entered a modern building.
We were greeted by the smiling staff of the Apollo company, mostly women. As usual, a Bluetooth device was installed in the ears. In a large hall, various modern vehicles were parked. On the front wall, there was a large picture of Apollo space mission astronauts stepping on the moon. As the Apollo mission landed on the moon for the first time, Baidu –
The technical company was also the first to create driverless autonomous vehicles. At this place, we were shown in detail the vehicles from the first models to the latest models. The specific features of each vehicle were explained. These vehicles operate automatically without a driver. In Europe and the United States, autonomous vehicles without a driver are also being made experimentally. In the next few years in these developed countries. Drivers will not be needed. The Apollo vehicles built under Baidu are equipped with powerful sensors. In the initial designs, these sensors were of a large size, which were installed on the roof of the vehicle. While in the latest generation 6 vehicles we do not see the sensors. These vehicles are EVs.

In some parts of China including Beijing, the company provides free taxi service with pick-up and drop stations. On a large screen, we are shown that these vehicles are driving on the streets or parked at their stations. But these vehicles looked like small boxes. They were being monitored from this center. The next phase was very interesting. The desire in our hearts was fulfilled when we were told that you all should come out. we were seated in the latest generation 6 automatic cars. An officer was sitting on the driver’s seat. There was a small monitor attached to the steering wheel, the screen of which was actually the driver of the car. This officer told us that this is the steering wheel. I will not even touch it, I will just set my route on this monitor and the car will follow this route by itself. We thought it would be a short route consisting of a straight road. But the car started by itself and went out of this building. Joined the rush hour traffic. The 15 minute journey was very exciting. A rare opportunity in my life to experience traveling in the world’s most advanced self-driving vehicle. After excellent driving while navigating the rush hour traffic, this car brought us back to Apollo Park. All our companions’ faces were beaming with joy as they got off the other vehicles. After that we all took a group picture with the Apollo logo.Honorary Officers of Apollo Certificates were given to us by the company.

We are very afraid of driving because our traffic is very chaotic. And you have to depend on the driver all the time. Maybe in the future, such vehicles will be available in Pakistan and the driver will not be needed. China is making amazing progress in every field of technology. Through CPEC, Pakistan can also benefit from this Chinese technology in the near future. Wherever you go in the world, the thought of your homeland always haunts you. A wish arises that our country is also as clean and developed.I was engrossed in these thoughts when the voice of our group leader Mr. Liu Chong said let’s go let’s go.We all once again boarded our buses.

It was 12 noon. We were taken to a restaurant for lunch. Mahzeb told us that Halal food was arranged for us throughout the tour. He showed us that Halal was written on a signboard outside the restaurant. After seeing that our we were at peace .now we were all feeling very hungry . Our food was arranged in a separate room. As usual, the food was presented on two big round tables. Vegetables, chicken, soup, dumplings were placed on the revolving round table with great sophistication. Finally, a famous chef, came up with a dish called “PekingDuck”. The duck is cooked with the skin in such a way that the skin becomes crispy on the outside while the meat is tender on the inside. The chef was very skilled. He cut the duck with the help of a sharp knife. Cut delicate slices like paper. And the waiter served it to all of us. Mahzeb told us how to eat this dish.

Like our samosa patti, it was served with thin bread, some finely chopped vegetables and sauce. Inside the bread, slices of duck were rolled up with vegetables and then dipped in the delicious sauce۔ . I already had a full lunch but this dish was so delicious that everyone did justice to it. They also appreciated the skill of the chef who was carving such thin slices with a knife like an artist . this was very famous dish .I had heard about it but today I got the opportunity to eat it for the first time. I thanked Allah Almighty. I kept drinking hot Chinese tea along with the food. But one thing that was special was the gossip and laughter of all our friends. Every moment of this trip was becoming memorable thanks to the well-mannered, smiling Pakistani colleagues and gracious Chinese hosts ، men and women who always took care of us. driving an Apollo car and eating Peking duck were two unique experiences of this trip .

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