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Baidu’s Robotaxis Apollo Go Now Rolling Out In All Top-Tier Chinese Cities After Launching In Shenzhen – FutureCar.com

Author: Eric Walz

The Apollo Go robotaxi service launched by Chinese internet tech giant Baidu Inc. has expanded to Nanshan District in Shenzhen, providing self-driving robotaxi services to commuters for the first time.

Shenzhen becomes the seventh city where Baidu has introduced its robotaxi driving services in China, after Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Changsha and Cangzhou.

Shenzhen’s Nanshan District is home to some of the country’s biggest tech companies, including Tencent and Huawei. It is also one of the most densely populated areas in southern China, which opens Apollo Go to more customers.

As an innovation hub, Nanshan District has a favorable policy environment for the deployment of autonomous vehicles, as well as a strong road network to support their operations. The region offers optimal conditions for the rapid implementation of robotaxi services and the rapid development of autonomous driving technology.

Apollo Go uses a model similar to ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft. Passengers use an app to summon a driverless car and wait at a local train station for the robotaxi vehicle to pick them up.

Users will be able to hail a robotaxi through the Apollo Go app at any of approximately 50 stations, with daily opening hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At launch, Apollo Go pick-up and drop-off locations will be centered on key downtown locations such as the Shenzhen Talent Park, covering surrounding residential and commercial areas, including entertainment and cultural venues. and other popular destinations, Baidu said.

The service area is expected to expand to more than 300 stations by the end of 2022, meeting the ever-increasing daily commuting needs of Shenzhen residents.

Baidu has become a leader in developing self-driving technology in China. As a pioneer in the development of autonomous driving in China, Apollo autonomous vehicles have accumulated more than 10 million test kilometers. Baidu plans to build a comprehensive mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) ecosystem in China.

In April 2021, global consulting firm Guidehouse named Baidu one of the “top ten self-driving developers in the world”. Others include Alphabet Inc’s Waymo division, spun off from Google’s self-driving car project, and San Francisco-based Cruise, the self-driving unit of automaker General Motors.

Baidu’s Apollo Go self-driving service has also been authorized to provide paid service in China’s first-ever commercial self-driving demonstration area in Beijing. The self-driving vehicle business permit, granted by Beijing High Level Automated Driving Demonstration (BJHAD) Area Headquarters, allows Baidu to collect fares in the designated area.

Baidu also said it has received more than 400 more self-driving licenses in China to expand its Apollo Go service.

The Apollo Go vehicles developed by Baidu are designed to operate completely autonomously, without a safety driver on board.

Since Apollo Go vehicles are designed to operate without a safety driver on board, they are backed by a 5G-powered “remote driving service”. It allows a human operator to take control of the vehicle remotely in the event that the software encounters unexpected obstacles during the journey, such as a disabled vehicle or a lane closure due to construction work.

In June last year, Baidu unveiled an all-electric robotaxi SUV called “Apollo Moon” that will eventually be used in the expanding Apollo Go service. At the time, Baidu said Apollo Moon electric vehicles were “a monumental step in the large-scale commercialization of fully autonomous transportation services in China.”

Baidu plans to deploy 1,000 Apollo Moon robotaxis over the next three years in China. The company plans to expand its Apollo Go operations to 65 cities across China by 2025 and 100 by 2030.

In the third quarter of 2021 alone, Baidu’s Apollo Go provided 115,000 rides, making it the world’s largest robotaxi service provider, Baidu CEO Robin Li said during an interview. a call for results.

In August 2021, at the annual Baidu World conference, Li unveiled his vision for the mobility of the future in the form of a futuristic “robocar” designed to make self-driving vehicles even more accessible to the general public. Baidu claims its robocar is capable of Level 5 autonomous driving, which means no human intervention is ever required.

The robocar features automated butterfly doors and a transparent glass roof to make the interior more spacious for passengers. Each vehicle includes a suite of external sensors for safe navigation on public roads.

Li believes that robotaxi vehicles in the future will look more like “intelligent robots” than passenger vehicles. He predicts that one day these vehicles will “move, communicate and learn” thanks to artificial intelligence.

Baidu has been working on self-driving technology since launching its Apollo open self-driving platform in 2017. The open platform is designed to accelerate the development of self-driving technology through collaboration with industry partners. ‘industry.

Since its launch in 2017, Apollo has become the world’s largest open-source self-driving platform, according to Baidu. Global automakers contributing to the Apollo platform include BMW, Ford Motor Co, Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda, Intel Corp and approximately 200 other companies.

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