Apollo Go, Baidu’s autonomous ride-hailing service platform, officially began offering its services in Wuhan’s Economic & Technological Development Zone (WHDZ) on Tuesday. The company will provide autonomous driving services for city residents.
The move indicates that Apollo Go is extending its reach into other new first-tier cities in an orderly manner after fully deploying its services in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The introduction of Apollo Go in Wuhan will further promote the development of the intelligent and connected vehicles automobile industry in the city.
Since 2021, WHDZ has provided roads measuring about 321 kilometers for the use of intelligent and connected vehicles test drives, of which 106 kilometers are covered by 5G Intelligent Vehicle Infrastructure Cooperative Systems (IVICS). The area is the largest open test road with a broad range of test elements and also the first area with full 5G access in China. WHDZ’s digital infrastructure has laid a foundation for Apollo Go in presenting and applying autonomous driving.
In its initial stage, Apollo Go plans to put 10 Apollo Moon Arcfox autonomous cars on the streets of Wuhan. Users can the hail cars with one click through the Apollo Go App and can be used for commuting and short-distance connections in the region.
Baidu will set up 63 recommended boarding points along 166 km of roads within 30 ㎞² of the WHDZ, encompassing commercial gathering areas, residential gathering areas, major industrial parks, and other major traffic hubs. The company will expand the service routes, boarding points and time periods as it builds out its transportation network.
Up until now, after 27 million kilometers of road test mileage over the last 9 years, Baidu‘s Apollo Go has opened manned travel services in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing and other cities, and has launched commercial paid travel services in Beijing, Chongqing and Yangquan. In its current form, Apollo Go has become the world’s largest autonomous ride-hailing service provider.
In order to further promote the rapid uptake of high-level autonomous driving, 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 at the end of April, along with Pony.ai. A total of 15 vehicles from the two companies obtained test licenses.
In addition demonstrating the application of autonomous driving, Baidu has also upgraded its core technologies. On Monday, Apollo announced that it will jointly build car camera modules that contain over 15 million high pixels with Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation, LCE and Black Sesame Technologies. At present, the preliminary design has been completed and the development and testing process is advancing in due course.