Baidu, Pony.ai get Beijing’s approval to run robotaxis on open roads

Author : Pankaj Singh | Published Date : 2022-04-29 

Pony.ai, a self-driving vehicle company, and the Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc. have reportedly secured licenses to provide autonomous ride-hailing services on public roads in Beijing.

Several cities in China have already permitted robotaxi vehicle companies to test self-driving cars without a safety operator in the driver's seat, but this is the first time a fully driverless service is allowed on open roads.

Speaking of which, Pony.ai recently received a taxi license in Guangzhou to operate and charge for autonomous ride-hailing, which requires a safety operator to remain in the driver's seat.

According to a Baidu spokesperson, neither Pony nor Baidu will charge a fee for driverless rides at this time, though both companies are currently operating commercial services with robotaxis with a safety driver in Yizhuang, which is also known as the Beijing High-level Automated Driving Demonstration Area (BJHAD).

Both Baidu's and Pony's driverless services will operate in this 60-square-kilometer section of Beijing, which is home to around 300,000 people. It is also worth mentioning that several autonomous vehicle businesses are based in China, and it's evident from both Pony's and Baidu’s milestones that the country is pressing forward with regulations to bring autonomous technology to market.

The licenses obtained by BJHAD's head office will allow Baidu to deploy 10 driverless vehicles in Beijing commencing Thursday (28th April), joining the company's existing Apollo Go fleet of roughly 100 cars in the capital city. At a later stage, the firm also said that it wants to add 30 more self-driving cars.

Pony.ai's service will launch on the same date with four self-driving cars, with additional expansion plans in the future. Meanwhile, customers of Apollo Go can hail a ride using the app from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., while Pony customers can hail a ride using the PonyPilot+ app from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pony.ai believes the area will have numerous pickup and drop-off points, including core business districts, subway stations, stadiums, parks, and residential neighborhoods.

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Pankaj Singh

Pankaj Singh

Endowed with a post graduate degree in management and finance, Pankaj Singh has been a part of the online content domain for quite a while. Having worked previously as a U.K. insurance underwriter for two years, he now writes articles for fractovia.org and other online portals. He can be contacted at- [email protected] | https://twitter.com/PankajSingh2605

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