Baidu to launch self-driving taxi service in Zhejiang

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Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc said it will offer a self-driving taxi service in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province on Saturday. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc said on Saturday it would offer a self-driving taxi service in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, as part of the company’s broader drive to accelerate the large-scale commercialization of autonomous driving technology.

The service provided by Baidu’s Apollo Go will include 84 pick-up and drop-off stations initially in Wuzhen. Passengers can use the service from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with one click on the Apollo Go app.

Its autonomous transportation service provided around 213,000 rides in the fourth quarter of 2021, making Baidu the world’s largest autonomous mobility service provider.

So far, Baidu Apollo’s L4 self-driving vehicles have traveled more than 25 million kilometers, with 593 self-driving licenses in China, including 398 for passenger transport. L4 range means the vehicle can be driven on its own in most circumstances without a human backup driver.

Baidu Apollo has rolled out robotaxi ride services in nine cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. It also conducts business operations in Beijing, Chongqing, Yangquan, Shanxi Province (North China).

As self-driving technology continues to mature, the self-driving industry is poised to consolidate in the coming years. According to consultancy IHS Markit, the market size for self-driving car services will exceed 1.3 trillion yuan ($203.5 billion), with the top-ranked service provider accounting for 40 percent of the market share.

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