Baidu will be the first company in China to offer autonomous taxi service to its passengers with money. Baidu, the country's largest artificial intelligence firm, has obtained a license to operate in this area from the authorities of the city of Cangzhou in the northern Chinese province of Hebei. Baidu announced to the public through a statement on March 35 that its fleet of 16 vehicles is now ready to offer smart transportation services and that it is researching different mechanisms that will enable its customers to pay.
Cangzhou is the first Chinese city to announce its policy of serving passengers for a fee to the self-driving taxi industry. This constitutes a stage in the technological development of the country, according to Baidu. Baidu launched its robotaxi (autonomous taxi) service, called Apollo Go, in Cangzhou in August 2020, allowing people to book this type of taxi for free travel with their smartphones.
Apart from Cangzhou, Baidu's robotaxy service is also available in Beijing and Changsa in the central Chinese province of Hunan. The company announced its intention to roll out the service in 30 Chinese cities within three years. Baidu also obtained a driverless test permit for 10 vehicles from Cangzhou city. In order to qualify in this area from Cangzhou, companies have to autonomously conduct 50 kilometers of accident-free road trials with a safety driver. The company received these permits from Changsa in September 2020 and from Beijing in December 2020. In addition, it has been granted permission to perform driverless tests in the state of California, United States.
The giant company has been investing in the autonomous vehicle sector since 2013. The Apollo Go service is the first platform open to the world in the field of autonomous driving and has 210 partners, 56 thousand developers worldwide and 700 thousand open source online lines. Currently, Baidu's Apollo Go fleet consists of 500 vehicles and has conducted tests on open roads in 30 cities around the world, covering a total of more than 7 million kilometers. Apollo Go obtained 214 autonomous driving licenses in China; 161 of these have passenger transport permits.
Source: China International Radio