Baidu nabs approval for driverless commercial robotaxi in Wuhan, Chongqing

By Ayushi Garg  | Date: August 08, 2022

Baidu nabs approval for driverless commercial robotaxi in Wuhan, Chongqing

Chinese multinational technology company, Baidu has reportedly received the permits to offer a completely driverless commercial robotaxi service, with no human driver present, in two of China’s megacities, Wuhan and Chongqing.

According to credible sources, Baidu’s autonomous ride-hailing service, Apollo Go, has been authorized to collect fares for the robotaxi rides.

Apparently, this move comes a few months after the firm scored a permit to offer driverless car-pool services to the public on open roads in Beijing. However, the services offered in Beijing are still not commercial.

Though Baidu is providing free driverless rides for R&D and public acceptance, the Beijing permit still necessitates a human operator in the vehicle’s front passenger seat.

For the unversed, this new launch by Baidu in Wuhan and Chongqing will mark the first stint for an autonomous vehicle corporation in China to offer a fully driverless ride-hailing service.

Recently, the U.S.-based self-driving vehicle platform, Cruise began offering a driverless commercial service in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Waymo has also been providing one such service in Arizona since 2020.

Speaking on the latest development, Wei Dong, Vice President and Chief Safety Operation Officer, Baidu’s Intelligent Driving Group, addressed the initiative as an incredible qualitative change.

Wei further acknowledged the permits as key milestones on the journey to the inflection point when the industry can finally provide fully autonomous driving services at scale.

For the record, Baidu’s service will be operational from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Wuhan. It will cover around 13 areas in the city’s Economic & Technological Development zone, known as China’s “Auto City.”

Meanwhile, Chongqing’s service will remain functional between 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in a 30 area in the Yongchuan District.

It would be imperative to note that each city will have a fleet of five Apollo 5th generation robotaxis.

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Ayushi Garg

Ayushi Garg

Currently working as an associate content writer, Ayushi pens down insightful articles for several websites. She began her profession by taking classes in digital marketing to broaden her skills. Given her passion for writing, she took up several freelancing projects ...

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