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Baidu is testing commercially self-driving taxis in China

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 Baidu is testing commercially self-driving taxis in China

After Baidu began testing self-driving vehicles for the first time in Cangzhou, China, last summer, it has now obtained the necessary licenses to test how to monetize these vehicles.

The city, about 149 miles south of Beijing, has granted the company's Apollo Go self-driving taxi service permission to run commercial tests with 35 cars and 10 additional permits for a fully autonomous vehicle test.

Baidu is testing commercially self-driving taxis in China

Baidu says the permits allow it to become the first company in China to start testing self-driving taxis for pay.

Through these experiences, Apollo Go will be able to offer commercial demonstrations of intelligent transportation services, and explore various mechanisms for charging customers, such as discounts and trial tickets, for the first time by any self-driving company in China.

And in August 2020, Baidu opened the Apollo Go service in downtown areas of Cangzhou, allowing people to ride these cars for free via their smartphones.

In addition to providing more convenience and safety for the people of Cangzhou, Baidu's automated taxis are smart electric vehicles that contribute to protecting the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

So far, these trips have been offered to people free of charge, marking an important milestone in their goal of commercializing the service.

Baidu is also the first company in Cangzhou to obtain permission to fully test self-driving vehicles on city roads, and its in-city testing previously included safety drivers in cars.

To obtain the permits, Baidu had to complete 50,000 kilometers of testing via local roads with safety drivers, while being responsible for no accidents.

As of the beginning of March, the company said: Its Cangzhou fleet has accumulated more than 525,000 kilometers of total test kilometers with each vehicle averaging 17,490 kilometers, a testament to the safety and reliability of self-driving vehicles.

Baidu is testing autonomous vehicles in Beijing and Changsha, the capital of China's Hunan Province, and hopes to expand service to 30 cities sometime in the next three years.

Baidu has invested in autonomous leadership since 2013, and Apollo is the world's leading open platform for autonomous leadership, with more than 210 partners, 55,000 global developers, and 700,000 lines of open source code.

The size of the Apollo vehicle fleet has grown to 500 vehicles, which have conducted open road tests in nearly 30 cities around the world, and accumulated more than 7 million km of testing.
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