Baidu has announced that its fully driverless autonomous taxi service will be operating on the streets of Beijing from May 2, making it the first paid robotaxis service in China.
Its Apollo Go service will initially be available in Shougang Park, one of the venues for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, where passengers will be able to move between gyms, workplaces, cafes and hotels. , and will be available to shuttle athletes and staff during the Games.
Using the Apollo Go app, passengers can locate a self-driving taxi nearby and flag down a driverless ride through a self-service process. Once the car arrives, users must scan a QR code and health code on the car for Covid-19 identity verification and contact tracing before the vehicle’s doors unlock. Once a passenger has boarded, he presses the “start the journey” button to start the journey.
Step before the commercialization of autonomous driving
The company points out, however, that before the start of the trip, the system will perform “all passenger safety protocol checks”, including ensuring that all seat belts are on and the doors are closed, and that a human operator can remotely access the vehicle, via 5G, in the event of an emergency.
“The introduction of driverless services is an essential step in the commercialization of autonomous driving. Today, we are opening the fully driverless robotaxi services to the public in Beijing, which we only achieved after conducting countless driverless scalable tests in many cities over a long period of time, ”Yunpeng Wang said. , vice president of autonomous driving technology of Baidu. According to the company, it has been testing its autonomous vehicles since last October in areas like Yizhuang, Haidian and Shunyi in Beijing.
Earlier this year, Baidu and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group jointly established a new company focused on the production of self-driving cars. The research giant will focus on developing smart driving capabilities for these cars, while Geely, which creates vehicles under the Volvo, Lotus and Geely brands, will help with its automotive design and manufacturing capabilities.