Baidu has received the first-ever permits in China to provide driverless passenger rides to the public on open roads in Beijing.
With these permits, issued by the head office of the Beijing High-level Automated Driving Demonstration Area (BJHAD), ten autonomous vehicles without drivers behind the steering wheel will now offer rides to passengers in a designated 60 sq km area of the Chinese capital.
Users will be able to hail a driverless ride using the Apollo Go mobile app in daytime from 10:00 to 16:00. Apollo Go is Baidu’s autonomous ride-hailing service in Beijing.
“This means that intelligent driving in China has officially entered the ‘driverless’ phase,” says Wei Dong, vice president and chief safety operations officer of Baidu Intelligent Driving Business Group. “It also represents the confidence and capability of Baidu’s autonomous driving to navigate complex urban traffic and be put to the test of public use. Moving forwards, these ‘driverless vehicles’ will provide standardized passenger service on urban roads and truly become part of people’s daily living.”
Apollo Go is now in nine cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Changsha, Cangzhou, Yangquan and Wuzhen. There were 213,000 orders on Apollo Go in the fourth quarter of 2021.