For the first time.. self-driving taxis on the roads in Beijing


Chinese tech giant Baidu and Toyota-backed startup have given the green light to deploy self-driving cars in the Chinese capital, but it is expected that it will take years before taxis without drivers operate. Minimal human intervention due to rules and safety requirements.

The developers hope that Chinese consumers will quickly get used to the idea of ​​driving in a driverless car, as they have previously accepted e-commerce, online payments and other digital solutions.

The Toyota-backed startup reported that more than 500,000 trips took place with its cars during the early testing stages.

Beijing has finally approved the first self-driving taxis for commercial use, and dozens of “Robotaxy” cars have been deployed on the streets of the Chinese capital.

A RobotTaxi looks like a regular car, but this white taxi is driverless, communicating with customers digitally to get directions and receive payment.

These cars can carry only two passengers at a time, and their trips are limited to the Yichuang area in the south of the city.

An employee of the taxi company also sits in the front of the car in anticipation of any need for sudden intervention, but the car is driving itself.

The launch of “Robotaxi” is an important step in the self-driving ambitions of Chinese tech giant Baidu and startup Ponyi, which gave the green light to roll out the cars late last month.

Passengers who want to use Baidu’s Apollo Go vehicles need to download the Lupu Quaibao app and can take a taxi at one of the 600 pick-up and drop-off points.

There are currently 67 Baidu taxis on the roads in Beijing, which charge just over 2 yuan ($0.3) for a 5.9-kilometre journey.

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