Baidu Bags China's First Permits for Driverless Robotaxis

Dejan Cvetnarevic
Dejan Cvetnarevic

Updated · Aug 08, 2022

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China’s internet giant Baidu has just secured permits to operate fully-driverless robotaxis in Chongqing and Wuhan.

China’s First Fully-Driverless Cars

For the first time, a Chinese company will have all the licenses to offer a robotaxi service with no human driver present in the vehicle.

In Wuhan, the service will operate between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and it will cover a 5 square miles radius in the city’s Economic and Technological Development zone a.k.a. “Auto City.” In Chongqing, it will run between 9.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. in an 11.5 square mile area in Yongchuan District.

“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,” said Wei Dong, the company’s vice president and chief safety operation officer.

Baidu has previously scored a permit to provide autonomous ride-hailing service on open roads in Beijing. However, it still required a human operator to sit in the front passenger seat of the car.

The company also has a driverless service presence in several other cities, including Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.

China is looking to fuel the revolution in autonomous driving, having recently allowed driverless cars to operate across a large part of Shenzhen.

What is Next for Autonomous Vehicles?

Fully-driverless cars are already operating in some parts of the world. San Francisco and Waymo already offer self-driving taxis with no humans in either front seat.

While they are still in the early stages, it is expected that there will be over 33 million autonomous cars in use by 2040. Japan, South Korea, and Germany are also looking to launch AI-driven vehicles soon.

The role of machine learning in the automotive industry will grow by 48%, and the market for AI in cars is expected to reach $215 billion in annual value by 2025.

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Dejan Cvetnarevic

Dejan Cvetnarevic

Dejan is a techie at heart who always dreamed of turning his fascination with gaming into a career. He finds working for TechJury a perfect opportunity to express his views of all kinds of different software. Being an avid reader, particularly of fantasy and sci-fi, Dejan pursued a degree in English Language and Literature. When not at his computer, he’s watching sports or playing tabletop games.

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