Earlier this week, Baidu launched China’s first paid autonomous robotaxi service. With this service, passengers will be able to ride on cars without a safety driver sitting behind the wheel. Associated Press reported that a safety member was present in the front passenger seat for emergency situations.
Baidu has launched this aforementioned driverless taxi service in Beijing’s Shougang Park. It is currently transporting passengers to sports halls, work areas, coffee shops, and hotels. Baidu said it will offer shuttle services for athletes and staff in the upcoming Winter Olympics which is scheduled for February 2022.
If someone wants to use this service all they have to do is book rides from the Apollo Go app. Note that since there is no driver on board, passengers would have to use remote car honking or the map in the app to locate the car. They have to scan a QR code and health code to unlock the vehicle.
Associated Press reported that each ride costs around 30 yuan which is approximately 4 British Pound sterling.
Since last October, Baidu has been conducting autonomous driving test trials in Beijing’s Yizhuang, Haidian, and Shunyi. Reports suggest Baidu has completed over 10 million kilometres of road testing for autonomous driving ahead of this launch. The company said it is willing to expand its driverless taxi service to more Chinese cities in the future.
Yunpeng Wang, Baidu’s Vice President, and General Manager said “In the future, Baidu Apollo will launch driverless robotaxis in more cities, enabling the public to access a greener, low-carbon, and convenient travel services, while continuing to improve the unmanned service process and user experience.”
Also added, “The commercialization of autonomous driving can alleviate congestion effectively and help to reach the peak carbon dioxide emissions and achieve carbon neutrality in China.”