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Baidu believes that its Robotaxis should eventually cost half of the cost incurred in a commercial car with a driver.
Earlier today on Friday, December 30, China’s largest search engine and tech giant Baidu said that it has secured the first license to test driverless vehicles on the roads of Beijing. As a result, the company is planning to add an additional 200 Robotaxis to its wide network across China over the coming year 2023.
Baidu Conducts Robotaxi Tests in Beijing
Headquartered in Beijing, Baidu generates most of its revenue from search engine services. However, it now wants to diversify its business operations and has been experimenting with self-driving technologies over the last five years.
Earlier this year in August 2022, Baidu said that its Robotaxis have already captured 10% ride-hailing market in the suburbs of Beijing city. By then, the company was operating more than 100 robotaxis in the Beijing suburb of Yizhuang. For the first time, Baidu began offering free robotaxi rides in Yizhuang back in October 2020.
However, last year in 2021, Baidu started charging fees for its robotaxi service Apollo Go. As per Baidu’s predictions, Robotaxis should eventually cost half of the cost incurred in a commercial car with a driver. The Apollo Go service from Baidu currently operates in Wuhan and Chongqing without the need for a safety driver. By the end of the third quarter of 2022, Baidu said that it has delivered a total of 1.4 million driverless rides.
Further Plans Ahead for Baidu
In a step towards offering commercial Robotaxi services in china’s capital, Baidu is planning to start testing 10 fully autonomous vehicles in a technology park developed by the government of Beijing. Baidu has a major advantage since other companies from outside of China have pulled back their plans of launching their fully autonomous vehicles.
Even Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” system still requires a human behind the wheel in order to take control anytime when required. Even in the United States, Tesla has been facing a criminal investigation over their claims that the company’s electric vehicles can drive themselves.
General Motors Co’s robotaxi unit Cruise is also planning to bring several hundred autonomous vehicles onto the streets of San Francisco and other US cities in the coming year of 2023. Earlier this month, US auto safety regulators stated that they are planning to open a safety probe of the autonomous driving system introduced by Cruise amid reports that the vehicles braked inappropriately.