Electronics and Semiconductors

Video: Watch a Baidu robotaxi navigate China’s public streets

10 August 2022

Chinese search giant and electronics developer Baidu has obtained permits to operate fully autonomous robotaxis without any safety driver inside in the cities of Chongqing and Wuhan, China.

The move comes after Baidu was already given licenses to operate fully driverless robotaxis in Beijing, China earlier this year. However, while testing has taken place, so far a safety driver is still required in most of these ride-hailing operations.

Using the ride-hailing app Apollo Go, the robotaxis will operate on the public streets of the cities that have populations of 30 million and 11 million, respectively. Given that these robotaxis will be operated without a safety driver, it is a step forward in the shift to bring autonomous vehicles to transportation in big cities.

Baidu called the move a turning point in the future of mobility in China and will eventually lead to an expansion of driverless ride-hailing services across the country.

Baidu said the fully driverless robotaxi services will be in designated areas of Wuhan from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and in Chongqing from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Initially, only five robotaxis will operate in each city although Baidu will likely increase its fleet in the coming months.

It is unclear if Baidu will use its Apollo RT6 fully autonomous vehicle for these tests or not. The RT6 was introduced earlier this year and it is the sixth-generation autonomous vehicle from the company. This generation is the first to be self-developed based on Baidu’s architecture specifically for autonomous vehicles.

In the video, a driverless vehicle from Baidu is seen operating on busy streets with the windows down and not a soul inside. It travels to a designated area where it picks up a passenger and then continues along its journey.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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