Baidu, China’s biggest internet provider, is all set to make the Middle Kingdom the future face of autonomous driving.
On August 21st, Baidu started Apollo Go, a Robotaxi service in Cangzhou, Hebei province, thanks to a collaboration with the intelligent driving solution provider, Yuntu.
In September 2019, a strategic cooperation agreement was formed between Cangzhou officials and Baidu on autonomous driving and intelligent transportation. Later in November 2019, the first autonomous driving road test network was set up in Cangzhou, along with manned testing of the Apollo Go system.
Baidu has been previously testing its self-driving vehicles earlier this year in Changsha as well as rigorous trials and testing in numerous other cities all around China. After being approved to operate in denser areas, the company launched its Apollo Go service in Cangzhou, intending to expand to urban settings across China. However, Baidu is also simultaneously running tests in various populated cities such as Beijing and Chongqing.
Currently, Baidu’s Robotaxi service is available to customers in 55 fixed locations around Cangzhou, such as train stations, schools, hotels, museums, business, and industrial areas. At the moment, Apollo Go uses a voice system to reminds customers to fasten their seat belt and a human driver just to make sure the autonomous system is properly working, at least until the testing phase is complete.
Baidu claims that Apollo Go is already the most significant autonomous driving platform across the globe, with its fleet of 500 autonomous driving vehicles that have carried more than 100,000 passengers over 6 million km. More so, Apollo possesses more than 150 autonomous driving road test licenses and 1800 intelligent driving patents.
As Baidu aims to make the world a better place with the help of technology, the company is confident that its system will be successful in the city of Cangzhou and, sooner than later, will be brought up all-over China.
However, AutoX has also recently launched its own Robotaxi service in Shanghai. Sure, Baidu is a lot bigger and more powerful than AutoX at the moment, but the young startup won’t go down without a fight.
Only time will tell who will come out on top!