Driverless taxi approved in Beijing
But the security guard must be on board.
China’s Baidu and Pony.ai have won approval to operate self-driving automated taxis in Beijing without Driver behind the wheel. Reports, among others the edge. In different parts of the world, various forms of self-driving cars are being tested, but now local authorities in Beijing are so confident in the technology that they allow cars to travel around roads without someone behind the wheel.
However, they require that a safety officer be on board the vehicle at all times, to monitor this.
Baidu and Pony.ai cars are also limited to certain parts of Beijing – not the entire city. They can only move around the Yizhuang area, which is supposed to be about 60 square kilometers, where 300,000 people live. By comparison, Oslo, for example, has an area of 454 square kilometres.
Baidu has secured a permit for 10 self-driving cars in the area, while Pony.ai is allowed to drive four. According to Baidu, their fleet can be expanded to at least 30 cars.
In November last year, the two companies obtained permission from the authorities to run taxi operations in the city. Then they had to have a “driver” behind the wheel, although he was not supposed to drive the car, but who should be ready to take control if something unexpected happened.
Taxis are only available during the day – 10-16 for Baidu and 9-17 for Pony.ai – and both are called via the company’s own apps.
Poly.ai has secured financial backing from Toyota, among others, and has tried relatively recently to extend testing to the United States as well.
There, however, their consent was withdrawn after one of their cars crashed in the middle of the road.
In the United States, there are also many companies striving to be the first to become self-driving taxis. Waymo and Cruz, among others, can drive driverless cars on California streets, and Tesla is also testing self-driving functionality in their cars.
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