Baidu’s Apollo is one of the pioneers of autonomous self driving cars
Baidu’s Apollo has joined the likes of Alibaba owned AutoX and Alphabet-owned Waymo to deploy a driverless ride-hailing service. Last week, the Baidu subsidiary launched its autonomous driverless ride-sharing service in China’s capital Beijing. It is the first to operate at scale in China which shouldn’t be surprising. Baidu has a long tradition of following Google’s path and after the mountain view-based company developed self deriving car technology, Baidu was soon to follow its muse.
Baidu calls the service Apollo Go Robotaxi and it opens in Shougang Park which is one of the venues for the 2022 Winter Olympics and will be transporting visitors to the games.
“Introducing unmanned services is an indispensable stage for the commercialization of autonomous driving. Today, we are opening the fully driverless robotaxi services in Beijing for the public, which we achieved only after conducting countless scalable driverless tests in many cities over a long period of time,” said Yunpeng Wang, vice president and general manager of autonomous driving technology at Baidu.
“In the future, Baidu Apollo will launch driverless robotaxis in more cities, enabling the public to access a greener, low-carbon, and convenient travel services, while continuing to improve the unmanned service process and user experience,” he said. “The commercialization of autonomous driving can alleviate congestion effectively and help to reach the peak carbon dioxide emissions and achieve carbon neutrality in China,” he added.
Users will be able to access the robotaxis using the app. It features virtual reality navigation, remote car honking. To unlock the car, users will have to scan a QR code and health code for identity verification and pandemic prevention purposes. You will also have to press a button to “start the journey” and the system will also ensure that the seat belts are fastened and doors are shut.
The vehicles will leverage 5G networks which are prevalent in China. 5G Remote driving assistance is present at all times to allow human operators to remotely access the vehicles in the case of emergencies.
Baidu has been testing its robotaxis since last October. Apollo has completed over 10 million kilometres of road testing for autonomous driving.