IMC Newsdesk

Baidu Robotaxi in Downtown Cangzhou

  • September 8, 2020
  • William Payne

Baidu has opened a self driving taxi service in Cangzhou in China’s Hebei province. The Apollo Go Robotaxi service is the first self driving taxi service in China that extends to a downtown area of a city. Baidu describes the launch as marking a significant milestone in its development of autonomous driving.

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. The Cangzhou self driving taxi service follows Baidu’s launch of robotaxi services in a 130 square kilometre region of Changsha, Hunan province, in April this year.

People in Cangzhou can hail a free robotaxi ride through one click on Baidu Maps. Visitors to Cangzhou can hail a robotaxi after getting off the train to take them to their hotels. A human operator is assigned to each vehicle to take control of the autonomous system as a safety backup.

The launch of Apollo Go in Cangzhou follows years of testing and trial operations across several cities. According to Baidu, robotaxis can now safely operate in busier areas that have more variables for the autonomous driving system to process. In addition to the operations in Changsha and Cangzhou, Apollo continues to conduct manned autonomous driving tests in Beijing, Chongqing, and other cities.

Cangzhou is located within the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and on the Beijing-Shanghai corridor. 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 reached a strategic cooperation agreement with Cangzhou to promote autonomous driving in September 2019. In November, the city opened certain road networks for manned autonomous driving testing, and Baidu Apollo’s fleet began testing with passengers shortly afterwards.

In 2019, 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.

The Apollo fleet includes around 500 autonomous driving vehicles that have driven over 6 million kilometres and safely carried more than 100,000 passengers. Apollo now holds over 150 autonomous driving road test licenses and more than 1,800 intelligent driving patents globally.