Baidu, Pony.ai nab commercial robotaxi licenses in Beijing


Baidu’s Apollo car with an autonomous driving system, which serves for self-driving taxi services, at the Shougang Industry Park in Beijing, China. — Reuters

Search giant Baidu Inc and Toyota Motor Corp-backed Pony.ai Inc were granted the first batch of licenses from Beijing regulators to start open-road autonomous commercial driving operations in a part of the city equivalent to the size of Manhattan.

The pilot licenses will allow a fleet of around 100 cars from the two companies to travel around the 60-square-kilometer (23 square mile) so-called Beijing High-level Automated Driving Demonstration Area, about a 30-minute drive from Tiananmen Square, according to state media reports.

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