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  • Lawrence Ng

Chinese Search Engine Baidu Gets License To Operate Driverless Taxis In Beijing

Chinese search engine Baidu announced that it has become the first business in China to get permission to test fully autonomous cars without a human driver or safety operator in Beijing.

Baidu Driverless Car
Credit: Baidu

Baidu will test a total of 10 completely autonomous cars in Beijing inside a defined region during off-peak time.

The tech giant's commercial robotaxi service, Apollo Go, is already in full operations in Chongqing and Wuhan since August this year. Although the operations are limited only to certain areas and time.

Apollo Go Driverless Cars
Credit: Apollo Go

Baidu has equipped its Apollo Go's fleet with state-of-the-art, multi-layered technologies, such as backup monitoring, remote driving, and a safety operating system. The visual-language model used by the safety operating system can spot unusual objects even in long-tail scenarios. The AI makes use of the same large model that powers its Wenxin text-to-image art platform. The technology is also backed by over 30 million kilometres of self-driving.

With the new expansion, Baidu expects to deploy close to 800 driverless autonomous cars in China by the end of 2023.

Waymo taking its first passenger in San Francisco.
Credit: Waymo

According to Reuters, Baidu has called for the Chinese government to "further loosen" autonomous driving restrictions, in an effort to compete with robotaxi companies in the US like Waymo - A Google company.

Waymo started testing autonomous vehicles in 2009 and it's autonomous robotaxi is now serving passengers in Phoenix and San Francisco around the clock.

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