Beijing grants Baidu, Pony.ai new driverless robotaxi permits


FILE PHOTO: A logo of Pony.ai is seen on a Lexus vehicle equipped with the company's autonomous driving system, which will serve as a robotaxi, in Beijing, China May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Baidu and Pony.ai said on Thursday they had received permits to deploy robotaxis without humans in the driving seat on open Chinese roads for the first time, in another instance of Beijing city's support for the autonomous-driving sector.

The permits are the latest set of approvals the municipal government has handed out over the past year to the two companies, which have been allowed to test drive their autonomous vehicles in some areas of the city.

The new permits allow both companies to offer rides to the general public from cars without anyone sitting behind the steering wheels on open roads within a 60 square kilometre (23 square mile) area in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone.

Baidu said 10 of its autonomous vehicles would offer such rides.

Pony.ai would still have safety supervisors in the front passenger seats for now, it said. It would deploy four driverless vehicles under the new permit and expected to add more in the future, it added.

Baidu's Hong-Kong listed shares rose as much as 5% after the announcement.

In November the two companies were allowed to launch fee-charging robotaxi services in a smaller area in the same zone, but authorities required them to retain a safety driver behind the wheel.

Pony.ai, backed by Toyota Motor also obtained a taxi licence in Guangzhou on Sunday, allowing 100 of its autonomous vehicles to start charging fares for rides in the southern city's Nansha district. These vehicles will retain safety drivers.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Zhang Yan and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Bradley Perrett)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

   

Next In Tech News

Former US high school science teacher found guilty of secretly recording people in his home
‘How about me’? Man’s question about Most Wanted list leads to his arrest in US
Mercedes opens its first EV-only dealership in the world in Japan
Russian state-owned bank VTB hit by largest DDoS attack in its history
Snowmobiler stranded in dark, frigid Alaska wilderness – until iPhone feature saved him
Sony says it has technology for humanoid robots, just looking for use
Mercedes to double electric motor output at Untertuerkheim - WiWo
Cryptoverse: Forget crypto winter, this is a bitcoin 'bloodbath'
Apple sued by women over ‘dangerous’ AirTag stalking by exes
Tweet sparks Elon Musk fever in EU’s poorest corner

Others Also Read