- The regulatory milestone, which allows the removal of a safety
operator from the driver's seat, represents a major step towards a
fully driverless future
- With the permits, passengers will be able to hail a ride in
driverless cars on open roads in Beijing, a mega city in the world
BEIJING, April 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Baidu,
Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU and HKEX: 9888) ("Baidu" or the "Company")
today received the first-ever permits in China authorizing the company to provide
driverless ride-hailing services to the public on open roads in
Beijing. This regulatory approval
marks a significant milestone for the autonomous ride-hailing
industry in China, indicating a
regulatory openness to taking a further step toward a fully
driverless mobility future.
With these permits issued by the head office of the Beijing
High-level Automated Driving Demonstration Area (BJHAD), ten
autonomous vehicles without drivers behind the steering wheel will
offer rides to passengers in a designated area of 60 square
kilometers in Beijing. These
licensed cars will join an existing fleet provided by Apollo Go,
Baidu's autonomous ride-hailing service, in the capital city of
China. Starting April 28, 2022, users will be able to hail a
driverless ride using the Apollo Go mobile app in daytime from
10:00 to 16:00.
Currently, Baidu has the largest autonomous driving fleet in
China. In expanding its driverless
vehicle services, Baidu has worked to meet the unique technical
challenges of Beijing's complex
traffic environment. The company plans to add 30 more such vehicles
at a later stage, expanding its fleet to provide more convenient
driverless services to the public.
The new permit represents Beijing's collaborative and safety-first
approach to autonomous vehicle regulation, progressing from the
manned autonomous driving stage to the driverless stage. It also
represents a benchmark regulation for the global autonomous vehicle
industry, given the complexity and high density of urban traffic in
Baidu's success in securing this regulatory permission can be
attributed to its strong foundation in AI and its leading
test-drive mileage. Baidu has a proven track record of over 27
million kilometers (16 million miles) of road testing accumulated
in the past 9 years with zero traffic accidents, including mileage
recorded by driverless test cars in multiple cities across
China as well as in California.
Today's announcement also brings Baidu closer to a scalable
operation of autonomous ride-hailing services in Beijing. In September
2020, Baidu became the first company in Beijing to offer autonomous ride-hailing
services. Starting in November of last year, Baidu has been
charging fees for the Apollo Go autonomous services offered
to the public under granted commercial permits, though safety
operators are required in the driver's seat.
Apollo Go has expanded to 9 cities in China since its first launch in 2020,
including all first-tier cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou), and five other cities
(Chongqing, Changsha, Cangzhou, Yangquan and Wuzhen).
There have been 213,000 orders on Apollo Go in Q4 2021, making it
the global leader by order volume.
Founded in 2000, Baidu's mission is to make the complicated
world simpler through technology. Baidu is a leading AI company
with strong Internet foundation, trading on the NASDAQ under "BIDU"
and HKEX under "9888." One Baidu ADS represents eight Class A
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SOURCE Baidu, Inc.