Baidu to launch paid driverless ride-hailing services in Beijing

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Baidu will launch paid driverless robotaxi services in Beijing from May 2, the Chinese tech giant said on Thursday.

Baidu is among the first companies in the country to offer autonomous driving robotaxi services to paying users.

Baidu’s driverless Apollo Robotaxi, to be launched in the Chinese capital’s Shougang Park, will operate without a safety driver behind the steering wheel, the company said, adding that users can hail and pay for a robotaxi ride through the Apollo Go App.

The company has been testing autonomous driving on public roads since October in Beijing. Baidu has over the years developed smart car technologies, including high-definition maps, with the autonomous driving unit Apollo established in 2017.

Jidu Auto, an electric vehicle venture between Baidu and Chinese automaker Geely, plans to spend 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) to make smart cars over the next five years, PageOne reported last week.

Alibaba-backed AutoX said earlier this year it began offering paid driverless rides to public users in Shenzhen.

Nissan-backed Chinese autonomous driving startup WeRide is also testing driverless vehicles in the country.

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