Specifying a draft Of which it had been talking for some years ago, Baidu, popularly known in these latitudes as “the Chinese Google”, put into operation its autonomous taxis, for the first time without the presence of a driver for assistance in potential emergencies.
Starting on May 2, the Apollo Go Robotaxi service was opened to the public in Beijing, which seeks to position itself as a transport alternative for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be based in China. .
Baidu’s autonomous taxis are already circulating in Beijing
This new driverless taxi service is the first of its kind to be offered commercially in China. Previously, Baidu had already carried out tests with these vehicles in limited areas, but always with the presence of an assistance driver.
After that test period is over, these taxis are already circulating without a pilot. Now, according to local protocols, a security inspector is located in the front passenger seat, to deal with any eventual emergency.
There are around 10 “Robotaxis” that are circulating in a limited radius of 3 square kilometers, covering only eight stops around Shougang Park, a space that is being adapted to become the venue for the Winter Olympic Games, to be held in 2022 in the eastern region of the Chinese capital.
To request a taxi, a dynamic similar to that of other transport applications of this style is followed, through the Apollo Go app. On average, a trip costs just under 4 euros.
Automatic check of doors and seat belts, effective avoidance of obstacles (pedestrians, vehicles and others), are part of the core of this proposal that seeks to gain the trust of Chinese citizens.
At least there is an encouraging record. Ahead of its official launch, the company indicated through a press release that its Robotaxi Apollo Go service has already transported more than 210 thousand passengers in three cities in China and among its projections is the expansion to 30 cities during the next three years.
Kelly Wang, vice president and general director of autonomous communication technology at Baidu, pointed out through the same channel that“In the future, Baidu Apollo will launch driverless robotaxis in more cities, allowing the public to access greener, low-carbon and convenient travel services, while continuing to improve the unmanned service process and experience of the user ».