Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) plans to open fully driverless robotaxi services to the public in Beijijng beginning on May 2nd. This will be China’s first paid autonomous vehicle service where users may hail a robotaxi without a safety driver behind the steering wheel. This is a huge step on the road to commercialization of autonomous driving. The driverless Apollo Go Robotaxi service will be initially launched in Beijing’s Shougang Park, One of the venues for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and will be transporting visitors to games.
As it launches during the Labor Day holiday period, Baidu will be the first Chinese company to offer a fully driverless robotaxi service under commercial operation. Users in the app can locate a robotaxi nearby and hail a driverless ride on their own through a system of self-service processes. The app offers virtual reality navigation and remote car honking to help users identify location of the car. Users have to utilize a QR code and health code on the car for identity verification and pandemic prevention services.
“Introducing unmanned services is an indispensable stage for the commercialization of autonomous driving. Today, we are opening the fully driverless robotaxi services in Beijing for the public, which we achieved only after conducting countless scalable driverless tests in many cities over a long period of time,” said Yunpeng Wang, vice president and general manager of autonomous driving technology at Baidu.
“In the future, Baidu Apollo will launch driverless robotaxis in more cities, enabling the public to access greener, low-carbon, and convenient travel services, while continuing to improve the unmanned service process and user experience,” he said. “The commercialization of autonomous driving can alleviate congestion effectively and help to reach the peak carbon dioxide emissions and achieve carbon neutrality in China.”