- Today Baidu Inc (NASDAQ: BIDU) opened the Apollo Go Robotaxi service in Cangzhou, Hebei province — which extended robotaxi coverage to the downtown area of a city for the first time in China
Today Baidu Inc (NASDAQ: BIDU) opened the Apollo Go Robotaxi service in Cangzhou, Hebei province — which extended robotaxi coverage to the downtown area of a city for the first time in China. This launch marks a significant milestone in Baidu’s development of autonomous driving technology and its aim to bring about the era of intelligent transportation.
Initially, the Apollo Go Robotaxi service in Cangzhou covers 55 pick-up and drop-off stations across the city, including train stations, schools, hotels, museums, business and industrial areas, and other public spaces. And the launch in Cangzhou comes after Baidu opened robotaxi services in a 130 square kilometer region of Changsha, Hunan province in April this year. By servicing the busy areas of Cangzhou, Apollo Go is making autonomous driving technology more accessible and helpful to users as they go about their daily lives.
People in Cangzhou are able to easily hail a free robotaxi ride through one click on Baidu Maps. For example, visitors to Cangzhou could hail a robotaxi after getting off the train to take them to their hotels. With safety a top priority, a human operator is assigned to each vehicle to take control of the autonomous system as a backup.
The launch of Apollo Go in Cangzhou follows years of extensive testing and trial operations across several cities. ANd technological progress now enables robotaxis to safely operate in busier areas that have more variables for the autonomous driving system to process. Along with operations in Changsha and Cangzhou, Apollo continues to conduct manned autonomous driving tests in Beijing, Chongqing, and other cities.
Cangzhou is known as a strategically important city, located within the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and on the Beijing-Shanghai corridor. And in recent years, it has invested heavily in the development of intelligent network technology to facilitate the rollout of autonomous driving. Cangzhou was the first city in northern China to allow manned autonomous driving tests and has built one of the largest road networks for testing autonomous vehicles. Baidu had reached a strategic cooperation agreement with Cangzhou to promote autonomous driving in September 2019. And in November, the city opened certain road networks for manned autonomous driving testing, and Baidu Apollo’s fleet began testing with passengers shortly afterward.
The ability of autonomous vehicles to operate in busier areas of a city is the result of Baidu’s continuous innovations. Last year, Baidu Apollo and FAW Group jointly developed Hongqi EV — the first pre-installed and mass-produced L4 autonomous driving vehicle in China and launched trial operations in Changsha in September.
And Baidu Apollo is the world’s largest autonomous driving open platform. The Apollo fleet includes around 500 autonomous driving vehicles that have driven over 6 million kilometers and safely carried more than 100,000 passengers. Now Apollo holds over 150 autonomous driving road test licenses and more than 1,800 intelligent driving patents globally.