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Baidu, known for its search engines, has been testing autonomous driving on the open roads since last year. Unlike previous Baidu autonomous driving demonstrations in Beijing, this is the first time that no one is behind the wheel, but a safety member is sitting in the front passenger seat in case of emergency.
Baidu launched its driverless taxi service in Beijing’s Shougang Park. It currently transports users to sports halls, work areas, coffee shops, and hotels.
Baidu has been conducting autonomous driving test trials in Beijing’s Yizhuang, Haidian, and Shunyi since October last year. The company reportedly completed over 10 million kilometers of road testing for autonomous driving ahead of this launch.
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.
Source: Baidu's Apollo Go driverless taxi service
How to book your taxi using apps?
- Passengers can call a robotaxi on Apollo Go apps.
- When the taxi arrives, passengers verify their identities and scan a health code before getting in.
- The taxi will start to move after detecting that passengers have fastened their seat belts.
- Passenger Kelly Wang and her husband said they had a smooth riding experience.
The plan is to expand the service to more parts of Beijing and eventually more Chinese cities. The robotaxis were repeatedly forced to brake when encountering jaywalkers or curious tourists who came very close to the vehicles for photos. Waymo, the self-driving taxi service of Baidu-rival Alphabet, has been offering its Waymo One commercial services.