baidu and Pony.ai have received permission to operate their autonomous vehicles without safety drivers in Beijing, a first for robotaxi services in China (via CNBC). Although both companies no longer need an employee in the driver’s seat, they do need a manager somewhere in the vehicle.
Baidu and Pony.ai can’t yet operate across the city of Beijing — they’re limited to a 60-square-kilometer area in Yizhuang, Beijing, home to about 300,000 residents. While Baidu can only deploy 10 autonomous vehicles in the region, CNBC says Pony.ai can only operate four. Both companies have plans to increase the number of vehicles on the road (with Baidu shooting for 30), but it’s unclear how soon that will happen.
The Beijing authorities began to allow this Baidu and Pony.ai levied fees for their robotaxi services in the Yizhuang area of Beijing last November, although the city initially required both services to have a safety driver behind the wheel. Corresponding TechCrunchDrivers can either call the Robotaxi service through Baidu’s Apollo Go app from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or through Pony.ai’s PonyPilot Plus app from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Last week the Supported by Toyota Pony.ai became the first autonomous car company to receive a taxi license in China. It received permission to operate 100 vehicles in Nansha, Guangzhou and says a security driver will be on board for a short time. Pony.ai has been approved to also test its autonomous vehicles without safety drivers in three California cities, but this approval has been suspended after one of his cars collided with a center divider.
So was Baidu, the company behind the giant Chinese search engine of the same name granted permission to test its vehicles without a safety driver in Sunnyvale, California. It joins a number of other autonomous vehicle companies such as Waymo and cruisethat can operate fully driverless vehicles on the streets of California.
https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/30/23050493/baidu-pony-ai-first-robotaxi-services-operate-without-safety-drivers-beijing-china Baidu and Pony.ai are the first robotaxi services to operate without security drivers in Beijing