Licensed to operate a fully driverless service in China. It said it was the first company in the country to receive such a license. Back in April, Baidu launched a self-driving taxi service in Beijing, as long as there is a human operator in the driver or front passenger seat. Now, it will be able to provide the car’s sole occupant as a passenger.
The license has some restrictions. The driverless Apollo Go vehicles transport paying passengers in designated areas in Wuhan and Chongqing only during the day. The service area covers 13 square kilometers in Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone (WHDZ) and 30 square kilometers in Chongqing Yongchuan District. Last year, WHDZ underwent an overhaul to support AV testing and operations.
Baidu said its robo-taxi has multiple safety measures to support core autonomous driving functions. These include monitoring redundancy, remote driving capabilities and safety operating systems.
This is a notable step forward for Baidu as it looks to offer a self-driving taxi service at scale. The company has been testing its vehicles in the U.S. for years and could eventually prove to be a competitor to the likes of Waymo and Cruise.
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