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There are driverless taxis in China

On April 28, Beijing issued China’s first autonomous driver’s licenses to two driverless taxi (robotaxi) companies, Baidu and Pony.ai.

The move marks a major milestone for China’s self-driving ride-hailing industry and demonstrates regulatory openness to take the vehicle a step further, industry experts said. Completely unmanned.

The license allows 14 autonomous, unmanned behind-the-wheel vehicles to carry passengers in a regulated area 60 km wide.2 in Yizhuang, a southern suburb of Beijing. A safety officer sits in the front passenger seat.

Starting April 28, users can order driverless taxis through the Apollo Go mobile app from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Baidu said. The company plans to add 30 such vehicles and continue to expand its fleet of driverless vehicles.

The company is focused on expanding its commercial robotaxi trial services to more cities, said Wei Dong, vice president and chief safety operations officer of Baidu Intelligent Driving Business Group.

Meanwhile, Pony.ai has set up hundreds of pickup and drop-off locations, including subway stations, parks, stadiums, commercial and residential buildings. Peng Jun, Pony.ai Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The approval to operate driverless vehicles in Beijing is an important milestone in the transition from autonomous vehicle testing to autonomous vehicle testing. Provision of robotic rides for public passengers”.

Late last year, major Chinese tech companies like Baidu, which runs China’s most popular search engine (it bans Google), signed up to offer robotic taxis (Robotaxi).

        There are driverless taxis in China - photo 1.

Beijing residents use Baidu’s driverless taxi service. Photo: China Daily

Robotaxi connects to the 5G internet

An EFE reporter took part in a demonstration tour where the car moved without the aid of a manual accelerator, steering wheel or turn signal. Vehicles change speed and stop based on big data and decide how to drive or interact with passengers.

The taxi doesn’t move until all the doors are fully closed and the passengers are buckled in, while the navigation system turns on automatically and uses the 5G internet connection to receive data about their surroundings and connect to the motion detection camera.

Officials at Baidu’s Apollo Technology Park in Beijing explained that anyone living in certain areas can call Robotaxi to get to work through the Luobo Kuaipao app, similar to Didi (the equivalent of Uber or Grab of China).

The fee schedule is similar to Didi’s premium service: about 58 yuan (about 202,000 VND) for a 10 km ride. Driverless taxis are equipped with assistive technology that helps the vehicle stop at the nearest safe spot in the event of a breakdown.

A Baidu representative said during the demonstration (which took place on the streets near the technology park near Beijing) that the robotaxi had been tested more than 27 million kilometers without any accidents. Currently, cars must carry the driver safely in the driver’s seat to monitor journeys.

But Baidu announced on April 28 that its 10 self-driving taxis will serve passengers in an area of ​​60 km.2 in the sparsely populated Yizhuang district of Beijing.

        There are driverless taxis in China - photo 2.

A driverless Baidu taxi rolls through the streets of Beijing. Photo: China Daily.

Huge market

Besides Beijing, seven other cities offer Baidu’s robotaxi service — whose English name is Apollo Go — and the company expects that number to grow to 65 cities by 2025 and 100 cities by 2020. year 2030.

The self-driving taxis use the Hongqi EV, an SUV model co-produced by Baidu and FAW, which is classified as Level 4 of 5 levels of self-driving vehicles. In developing fifth-generation vehicles, Baidu uses technology from BAIC-owned Chinese automakers such as WM Motor, Aion and Arcfox.

In June 2021, BAIC announced it would produce 1,000 low-cost robots per year – about 500,000 yuan (about 1.7 billion VND).

China is looking to take the lead in robotics development in a tech battle with the US, where companies like Waymo and Lyft are trying out similar products in a market expected to grow 136 percent a year. years in the next decade, according to a study by Reportlinker.

Reportlinker anticipates that market growth will be driven by high demand for passenger transportation vehicles, technological developments in the automotive sector, increasing demand for efficient public transport and infrastructure development.

Baidu’s own estimates paint a startling picture: the market is projected to surpass 1.3 trillion yuan (4.5 million dong) within a few years.

Baidu isn’t the only company offering driverless taxi services. Earlier this week, Pony.ai, a burgeoning self-driving car company based in Guangdong province, southern China, was also granted a license to operate 100 robotaxi in an area covering more than 800 square kilometers.2.

AutoX, powered by Alibaba, also provides robotaxi services in a 168 km area2 in Pingshan District, Shenzhen, with vehicles using fifth-generation autonomous driving technology.

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Baidu’s robotaxi service goes by the English name Apollo Go. Photo: EFE.


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