The city of Yangquan in China’s Shanxi Province has issued a pilot license for carrying out autonomous driving services to Apollo Go, the robotaxi ride-hailing platform of domestic tech giant Baidu. On February 27, Apollo Go began to provide the public with paid travel services to demonstrate the application of its autonomous driving technology.
According to the plan, after this pilot commercialization project in Yangquan is launched, users will be able to hail a car through the “Apollo Go” app to experience the service, which adopts traditional mileage pricing of the travel industry.
In the initial stage, 30 stations have been set up, and the operation time lasts from 9:00 to 17:00 every day. The demonstration route adopts the government affairs office of the city’s high-tech zone as the center, covering government affairs areas, residential areas and high-tech industrial zones. The service can fully meet the transportation needs of government affairs services, bus connection and commuting in the region. In the future, the operation routes and stations will expand to further meet daily travel needs of locals.
Yangquan is adopting Baidu‘s Apollo Go autonomous driving pilot services after Beijing and Chongqing, indicating that the venture not only aims to cover first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, but is also advancing to small and medium-sized cities. Yangquan holds special significance within the firm, as it is the hometown of Robin Li, founder and CEO of Baidu.
Yangquan has continued investing in the construction of a local digital economy and intelligent and connected vehicle networks. In March 2020, the city opened a demonstration zone for autonomous driving road tests. As a pilot project to build a powerful transportation network in Shanxi Province, it has opened a whole-city road test plan and several 13km high-speed test sections. The comprehensive, dynamic, real-time digital interaction between vehicles and roads has now been realized. The city has also carried out active vehicle safety control and road collaborative management on the basis of full-time dynamic traffic information collection and integration. All these factors have created a favorable environment for the commercialization of autonomous driving by Apollo Go.
Baidu Apollo possesses industry-leading technology and mature autonomous driving solutions. Up to now, its total test mileage has exceeded 21 million kilometers and its autonomous driving service platform has opened unmanned test operation services in eight cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Changsha, Cangzhou and Yangquan. In November 2021, it took the lead in implementing a commercialization pilot project for autonomous driving services in Beijing.