One of China’s biggest IT companies Baidu announced on Monday that it has been granted permission to run self-driving cabs in two major cities without the use of any human drivers. In Chongqing and Wuhan, China’s two largest cities, Baidu has won regulatory approval for its Apollo Go self-driving car service to operate on public roads during the day. A total of 30 million and 11 million people live in the two cities.
Baidu has taken a significant stride ahead, and it could signal a shift in China’s attitude toward new technologies. Baidu’s robotaxis are obliged to have a human safety operator in other places where they operate, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.
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Wei Dong, vice president, and chief safety operation officer of Baidu’s Intelligent Driving Group, said in a statement on Monday: “We have finally come to the moment that the industry has been longing for.” “We believe these permits are a key milestone on the path to the inflection point when the industry can finally roll out fully autonomous driving services at scale.”
Baidu has finally received the approval to deploy paid fully driverless robotaxi services on open roads in China, the first of its kind in the country, the moment we have been longing for for almost a decade!! 🧵 pic.twitter.com/lWpSpKai5H
— Tony Peng (@tonypengcomms) August 8, 2022
Baidu will be able to operate fully autonomous robot taxis in specific zones in Wuhan and Chongqing from 9 am to 5 pm and 9:30 am to 4:30 pm local time, respectively, under the new permissions. In the beginning, just five robotaxis will be available in each city.
Uber and Lyft, two of the most popular ride-hailing services in the United States, have abandoned their in-house attempts to develop self-driving taxis. In June, Cruise, funded by General Motors, received authorization from the state of California to begin charging fares for autonomous rides in San Francisco.
A crash involving a Cruise self-driving vehicle that resulted in minor injuries was investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in July. Stay tuned with us only on Lee Daily