Chinese autonomous driving startup AutoX has partnered with AutoNavi on commercial self-driving vehicle services. Shanghai will become the first city to witness the fruits of the collaboration between the two companies.
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As part of the collaboration, users will be able to hail rides with ‘AutoX RoboTaxi’ through the AutoNavi smartphone app. AutoX’s Robotaxi service will be the first in China to become available on a major platform.
When the user enters the designated pickup and dropoff locations, the AutoNavi app will list all vehicle options that can fulfill the request, including AutoX RoboTaxis, allowing riders to request both autonomous vehicles and human-driven vehicles, and the app will choose the car with the earliest arrival time. Unlike many other self-driving cars that can only stop at fixed stations, AutoX’s vehicles can pick up and drop off passengers at any location.
“The seamless combination of autonomous and human-driven fleets is crucial for the adoption and commercialization of self-driving technology. The service area of autonomous vehicles is an ever-increasing yet geo-fenced region, and the fleet size takes time to grow. This combination is a must-have for an autonomous driving company to be able to provide a truly useful service for all riders,” says AutoX CEO Dr. Jianxiong Xiao.
AutoX and AutoNavi will start accepting early riders from April 27, and will offer a joint free ride promotion for the Labor Day holiday in May. The RoboTaxi service will officially open to the general public immediately after the initial trial with early riders.