Chinese tech giant Baidu announced on Monday that Beijing authorities had issued a new batch of driverless licenses to the company after authorizing the company to provide driverless ride-hailing services to the public on open roads in the city starting in April.
At present, Baidu has increased the number of autonomous vehicles without drivers in Beijing to 20, and plans to increase that number by another 20 soon. So far, Baidu has the largest autonomous driving fleet in China. After commuters became familiar with the service, Baidu increased the number of boarding points to nearly 300.
The models of the ten newly-added driverless and fully autonomous vehicles are all Apollo Moon Arcfox, the company’s own fifth generation of autonomous driving vehicle.
The Apollo Moon Arcfox has achieved many innovations in unmanned services, including the independent control of door locking systems, dynamic identity authentication for getting in and out of the vehicle, as well as status detection of rear passengers, if any. In terms of passenger convenience, the vehicle provides seat belt reminders, voice interaction, intelligent door control and other functions.
At the end of April, the Beijing High-level Automated Driving Demonstration Area (BJHAD) issued the Rules for the Unmanned Vehicle Road Test. Baidu received the first-ever permits in China authorizing the company to provide driverless ride-hailing services to the public on open roads in Beijing. Licensed cars will join an existing fleet provided by Apollo Go, Baidu’s autonomous ride-hailing service platform. The service will operate within a designated area of 60 square kilometers within the city.
Up until now, relying on the accumulation of 27 million kilometers of road test mileage over the last 9 years, Baidu‘s Apollo Go has realized autonomous driving travel services in megacities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. In Q4 of 2021 alone, the number of orders of Apollo Go reached 213,000 and continued to grow throughout the first few months of 2022.