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Robots move out of factories and into cars

I Robot: BYD Auto from China has included a pop-up robot in their new B6 light-car.

China’s BYD pops up with an in-car robot to help you through your day

24 May 2012

CHINESE car-maker BYD Auto has unveiled the latest must-have automotive feature – the robot.

The little guy pops out of the dashboard of the all-new BYD B6 light car when the doors are opened, ready to read the news headlines, provide instant traffic updates, call emergency services in the event of a crash, and a multitude of other services.

Even capable of registering emotions, the robot is the visible face of BYD’s new internet-connected “i-BYD” system that provides 24-hour information, ‘chatting’ and other services under the headings “i security”, “i efficiency”, “i enjoy” and “i link”.

BYD B6 owners can use their smartphone to remotely unlock and lock the car, turn on the air-conditioner or even locate the car, which at this stage is a China-only proposition.

An embedded computer terminal can be used to download applications and music from the BYD app store.

The “Build Your Dreams” company is no stranger to cutting-edge technologies, as one of the world’s leading producers of lithium-ion batteries.

193 center imageLeft: BYD staff and local government officials start production of the BYD B6.

It also has joined forces with Germany’s Daimler, with which it has established an electric vehicle joint-venture called Denza that plans to launch its first EV in late 2013.

BYD’s own car division, which is part-owned by American billionaire Warren Buffett, this week held a line-off ceremony for the B6 at its new Changsha plant in central China – its third manufacturing base.

The car will be available in both petrol-electric hybrid and 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol variants, with either a six-speed manual gearbox or dual-clutch automatic.

The turbo petrol version is said to be capable of sprinting from zero to 100km/h in less than eight seconds.

The new car is a landmark in the company’s development into a fully fledged car-maker.

China Car Times says BYD had been known for its “cheap, cloned cars”, but was becoming “a company capable of developing high-end technology with equally high-end services”.

The BYD S6 is one of China’s most popular SUVs, while the BYD F3 last year was one of only four indigenous Chinese models among the 20 top-selling passenger cars in the huge Chinese market.

BYD’s new Changsha plant can produce 50,000 passenger cars a year, as well as 1500 electric buses.

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