Baidu rolls out self-driving taxi service in Beijing

BEIJING (XINHUA) – Chinese Internet giant Baidu recently rolled out its self-driving taxi service “Apollo Go” in Beijing, with 40 autonomous cabs put into trial operation initially.

Passengers can hail the autonomous cabs via the website and the Baidu Map app, according to Baidu Apollo, an open platform launched by the company in 2017 to coordinate cross-sector efforts in autonomous driving.

The taxis will run in a trial area with a total length of 700km, covering major residential and business districts in the Yizhuang, Haidian and Shunyi districts of Beijing.

The autonomous taxi service, dubbed Robotaxi, is said to be capable of manoeuvring through a variety of complicated traffic situations.

For instance, it is able to make a turn at a junction in the absence of traffic lights and signboards, which is viewed as one of the greatest challenges for self-driving technology.

Baidu Apollo will continue to promote the commercial application of autonomous driving and make more contributions to the city’s smart transportation, said Li Zhenyu, vice president of Baidu.

As one of the first cities to map out and regulate trial areas for self-driving vehicles across China, Beijing is playing a leading role in terms of the scale of test vehicles and the type of test traffic situations.

The city has also introduced the strictest policy to ensure the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles.

Previously, Baidu launched its Apollo Go service in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province, and Cangzhou, north China’s Hebei Province.

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