Remember Baidu’s driverless taxis in China? Well, Beijing has just issued permits for these autonomous vehicles to operate in select areas in the megacity.
According to a report by Reuters, Baidu and Poni.ai have both received go signals to offer rides to the public using their driverless taxis. These vehicles are now allowed to operate —without anyone behind the wheel at all—on open roads within a 60sqkm area in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone.
The two companies were already allowed to operate paid robotaxi services in a smaller area within the same zone back in November, but the vehicles still had to be manned by safety drivers then.
Baidu will deploy 10 self-driving cars, while Pony.ai will initially field four with more to be added in the future. Pony.ai will still have safety supervisors in the front passenger seat of its vehicles for now.
Let’s imagine for a second that the technology’s already available here in Metro Manila. Would you be willing to ride these driverless taxis?
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