China’s Baidu has received the approval for commercial operation of its autonomous car service on open roads in Beijing. The company’s Apollo Go unit, known as Luobo Kuaipao in China, is set to provide a paid service in China’s first-ever demonstration zone for commercial autonomous driving.
This is the service’s first-ever commercial deployment on open roads.
Covering an area of 60 square kilometers in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the service provided by Baidu’s Apollo Go includes over 600 pick-up and drop-off points in both commercial and residential areas.
Covering a total of 350 kilometers of roads, the service is available every day of the week from 7am to 10pm.
By using the Apollo Go App, qualified users can locate one of a total of 67 autonomous cars in the vicinity and hail a ride by themselves.
Baidu has set a goal to expand Apollo Go operations into 65 cities across China by 2025 and 100 cities by 2030.
In a press statement, Baidu says: ‘With the successful trial operation of Baidu’s Apollo Go commercial service, both the number of autonomous cars and the area of operation are due to expand further to meet the needs of local commuters, setting a foundation for the wider and more rapid development of commercialized autonomous driving within China’.
It adds: ‘Baidu’s autonomous driving capabilities have continued to make rapid progress in recent months. In Q3 of 2021, Baidu’s Apollo Go provided 115,000 rides, making Baidu the world leader in the number of autonomous car service rides provided. As of September 2021, Apollo L4 accumulated over 10 million test miles, an increase of 189% year over year’.
Founded in 2000, Baidu is a leading AI company with strong Internet foundation, trading on the NASDAQ under “BIDU” and HKEX under “9888.”