Driverless taxis in the Shougang Park area of Beijing will get users in this area to the point where they want to go without human intervention.
Tesla may be one of the first names that comes to mind when it comes to driverless vehicle technologies, but China’s Baidu is one of the companies that is doing serious work in this field. The company recently took one of the biggest steps in this regard, launching its completely driverless taxi service in Beijing.
The service, called Apollo Go Robotaxi, will initially operate in an area called Shougang Park in Beijing. Robotics with no drivers will deliver users to gyms, workspaces, cafes, and hotels in this area. This area in Beijing will also be used at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Baidu’s driverless vehicles will also be involved in transporting athletes and other officials.
So how does the system work? Users enter the Apollo Go app on their smartphone and find the driverless taxi closest to them. The app also features remote horn honking to make the vehicle easier to spot. When they reach the vehicle, they need to have a QR code and health code read within the scope of coronavirus measures to open the doors.
When users enter the car, they start the process by clicking the ‘start your journey’ button. The driverless taxi makes sure the doors are closed and the passengers’ seatbelts are fastened before they leave. And when it doesn’t detect any problems, it gets passengers to the point where they want to go without any human intervention.
At this point, let’s note that Baidu has not completely abandoned the issue of security. Because although there are no drivers in the vehicles, the 5G remote driving service is activated in case of an emergency that requires control to be taken, and from this point on, the control of the car is transferred to the officer who directs it remotely.
Baidu’s vice president, Yunpeng Wang, said: “The introduction of driverless services is an indispensable step towards the commercialization of autonomous vehicles. Today in Beijing, but after carrying out numerous scalable driverless tests in many cities over a long period, we are opening up fully driverless robotic services to the public with the accumulation we have gained.”