Baidu launches fully driverless ride-hailing in Beijing

Baidu launches fully driverless ride-hailing in Beijing

Baidu has opened its Apollo Go fully driverless robotaxi service to the public in Beijing, where users will be able to hail a robotaxi without a safety driver at the vehicle’s controls. Shougang Park in Beijing is the first location to see the roll-out of the robotaxi service, and is also one of the venues for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, where visitors will be using the driverless service.

Baidu is the first Chinese company to roll out a fully driverless taxi service for commercial operation, says the company. The Apollo Go mobile app enables users to locate and hail a nearby robotaxi through a system of unmanned, self-service processes.

Virtual reality navigation and remote honking helps users identify the location of the robotaxi, which requires its users to unlock the vehicle by scanning a QR code and health code on the vehicle, and to verify their identity and for pandemic prevention purposes, said Baidu.

Upon boarding the vehicle and pressing a button to start the journey, the system will ensure that all passenger safety protocol checks are completed – such as the shutting of doors and fastening of seat belts – before beginning the trip. Here, a 5G remote driving service is active at all times to allow human operators to remotely access the vehicle in case of “exceptional emergencies,” said the company.

Baidu launches fully driverless ride-hailing in Beijing

The robotaxis will be transporting users to and from locations such as sports halls, work areas, coffee shops and hotels, while their deployment at the Beijing Winter Olympics will see them transport athletes and staff, according to Baidu.

In addition to the fully driverless running at Shougang Park, autonomous operation has also been trialled in Yizhuang, Haidian and Shunyi as Baidu aims to progress to a new stage of commercialised operations in the capital as a starting point of operations in first-tier cities in China. So far, the Baidu Apollo programme has completed more than 10 million km in tests for autonomous driving, said Baidu.

“In the future, Baidu Apollo will launch driverless robotaxis in more cities, enabling the public to access greener, low-carbon, and convenient travel services, while continuing to improve the unmanned service process and user experience. The commercialisation of autonomous driving can alleviate congestion effectively and help to reach the peak carbon dioxide emissions and achieve carbon neutrality in China,” said Baidu VP of autonomous driving technology Yunpeng Wang.

Separately in January, Baidu announced it was entering a strategic partnership with Geely parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) for the design and production of intelligent electric vehicles. In this venture, Baidu takes charge of autonomous driving technology, while ZGH takes care of automobile design and manufacturing.

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Mick Chan

Open roads and closed circuits hold great allure for Mick Chan. Driving heaven to him is exercising a playful chassis on twisty paths; prizes ergonomics and involvement over gadgetry. Spent three years at a motoring newspaper and short stint with a magazine prior to joining this website.



  • Nama pun Apollo. Letaklah nama Jing Jing, Bei Bei or Bai Bai.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8
  • alt ctrl del on May 04, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    A good example of how humans work hard to create technology that put other humans (in this case chauffeurs or drivers) out of work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5
    • USB4.0 on May 04, 2021 at 3:53 pm

      BTW horses, buffalos, cows, donkeys, send regards to you.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 12
      • alt ctrl del on May 04, 2021 at 8:04 pm

        Please convey my thanks to your family & relatives.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
      • alive n kicking on May 04, 2021 at 10:19 pm

        If you wake 1 day & find that your job has already been taken over by a machine, how would you feel?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
  • I’m more concerned why’d they took that photo with a nuclear power plant as backdrop. A hint?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
    • Jack Ma on May 06, 2021 at 4:39 pm

      There is no nuclear power plant in Beijing, dude! Though there is a nuclear reactor at the outskirt. The cooling tower is a common facility of the fire power plant (can be gas or coal).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Cik Kekwa on May 05, 2021 at 8:49 am

    eh! For a second, I thought this was Biskut coklat enak Apollo……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
  • Majestic Sue Tonne on May 05, 2021 at 11:13 am

    systematic repetitive jobs shall be replaced by automation, robotics, A. I.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • everyman on May 06, 2021 at 8:48 am

      Driving a vehicle isn’t exactly a repetitive task because traffic conditions are always randomly changing & at times, one may have to ‘expect the unexpected’.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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