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Apollo Go to catch up Waymo, Cruise with fully driverless robotaxi

Yusin Hu, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Chinese tech company Baidu announced on Dec 30 that it has received the license to test autonomous vehicles with no driver or safety operator onboard in Beijing – the first in the capital city of China.

Baidu will test a total of 10 fully driverless vehicles in Beijing within a certain area of 20sqkm and during certain operation time, "including evening hours," according to the company.

The company just announced earlier this week that it would be testing driverless vehicles in Wuhan as well, where Baidu's commercial robotaxi service, Apollo Go, will serve a population of one million from 7AM to 11PM.

In addition to Wuhan, Baidu now provides commercialized autonomous ride-hailing service with no driver or safety operator in Chongqing as well. Beijing will soon be added to the list.

For the year 2023, Baidu plans to have 200 more fully driverless autonomous vehicles in service.

According to Baidu, more than 600 autonomous vehicles have been deployed and tested in the designated demonstration zones in Beijing, where vehicles, roads, cloud, network, and maps are integrated. The demonstration zones were established in 2020 and 2021.

In Baidu's press release, the company also urges the Chinese authority to "further relax" autonomous driving policies to compete with California-based robotaxi operators, Waymo and Cruise.

Earlier in December, Waymo extended its operation to the international airport in Phoenix. Passengers are now able to hail Waymo's driverless robotaxi to travel between the Sky Harbor International airport and downtown Phoenix 24/7.

Cruise has also announced that its robotaxi service was now available in three cities: San Francisco, Austin, and Phoenix during certain hours.

Credit: Baidu

Credit: Baidu