Shanghai (Gasgoo)- Chinese Internet giant Baidu launched on August 21 the full operation of its Robotaxi service “Apollo Go” in Cangzhou, Hebei province, which allows local commuters to enjoy a free self-driving taxi ride through a simple click on Baidu Maps, a desktop and mobile web mapping service application provided by Baidu.
The latest move came after the tech giant fully opened the same service in April in Changsha. However, as for the location where the service deployed, Cangzhou is the first city in China makes the Robotaxi available in downtown.
(Photo source: Baidu's WeChat account)
The “Apollo Go” is jointly operated by Baidu's Apollo autonomous driving platform and its eco-partner Yuntu, a Cangzhou-based intelligent driving solution provider. The operating routes cover such key areas as railway stations, campuses, starred hotels, museums and industrial parks. Besides, a total of 55 spots were launched first for Robotaxis picking up and dropping off passengers.
It is noteworthy that the Cangzhou operation is the first attempt for Apollo to ferry passengers between such downtown public areas as the railway station and starred hotels using Robotaxis.
Baidu Apollo has grown into the world's largest autonomous driving open-source platform since Baidu started R&D of the nascent technology in 2013. In Changsha, its Robotaxi operation has been developing fast. The milestones before the service opened to the public are shown as below:
On June 21, 2019, Changsha municipal government issued 49 license plates for autonomous car road tests, of which 45 were given to Baidu. According to the policy released at the same day, applicants were allowed to test autonomous vehicles on expressways or with passengers carried, which meant Baidu Apollo's Robotaxi would ferry passengers soon.
On August 2, 2019, Robotaxi-Hongqi E·Jie, China's first mass-produced L4 self-driving taxi co-developed by Baidu and FAW Hongqi, was put into test drives in Changsha.
On September 26, 2019, Baidu announced in Changsha the beginning of trial operations of its self-driving Robotaxi fleet. From then on, local citizens can apply via Apollo's official website to be among the earliest seed users to have test rides.
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