China has decided to take an important step in autonomous driving technologies and has approved the use of driverless taxis on the streets of the capital Beijing. In the statements made, it was stated that the approval was given to two companies named Baidu and Pony.ai, and that they would start service with a small fleet.
Technological advances, which continue rapidly around the world, cause developments in many different sectors that do not look like science fiction films. We can also say that one of the most affected by this situation is the automotive industry. Many automakers are investing in autonomous driving technologies that allow vehicles to drive themselves, and they expect these vehicles to become widely available in the future.
Of course, it is possible to say that it is difficult for us to see such vehicles in traffic frequently. However, important steps have already been taken regarding autonomous taxis designed to transport people. We recently shared with you that Japanese auto giant Honda plans to start providing fully autonomous taxi services in Tokyo in the coming years. Now, a move has come from China in this regard.
Driverless taxis allowed in Beijing
According to reports, Beijing, the capital of China, has taken a big step towards driverless ‘robotaxes’. In the statements made, it was stated that the autonomous vehicle technologies company Pony .ai and internet giant Baidu were allowed to serve in the city with such vehicles. In the statements that stated that 10 vehicles of Baudi and 4 vehicles of Pony.ai will be on the roads, it was stated that both companies will start operating with a small fleet, but this number may increase in the future.
According to CNBC, the approval marks the first of its kind in the country by allowing people to travel in self-driving vehicles. According to the statements, the Beijing administration will require a staff member in each vehicle to ensure the smooth functioning of the service. However, this person will not be required to sit in the driver’s seat. In addition, both companies have already tested their vehicles in many cities in China, including Beijing; however, it was also among the news that there should be someone at the wheel for safety in these tests.
It should also be noted that this service has an advantage for those living in Beijing at the moment. According to the statements, both companies have not yet received permission to charge fees for their services from the authorities. This means that people can travel in self-driving taxis for free for a while via mobile apps from Pony.ai and Baudi. It was also among the statements that these trips will take place in an area of approximately 60 square kilometers in the Yizhuang region of Beijing for the time being .
In short, we can say that this approval is important for both China and the world in terms of autonomous technologies. It should also be added that Beijing aims to have at least second-level autonomous driving technologies for 70% of the vehicles sold by 2030.