Baidu launches trial operations of its Apollo Robotaxi in Changsha, Hunan Province, Sept. 26, 2019. (Photo/hn.people.com.cn)
(ECNS) - Baidu has launched trial operations of its Apollo Robotaxi in a pilot area of Changsha City, capital of Central China’s Hunan Province, using a fleet of 45 self-driving taxis.
The Hongqi EV vehicles from Chinese carmaker FAW Group are empowered with Apollo's autonomous driving technology, enabling the cars to perform a range of self-driving functions, including changing lanes based on road conditions and assessing the movement of nearby vehicles to avoid accidents.
During the trials, a human driver is assigned to each Robotaxi to take control of the autonomous system to ensure safety.
A screen shows rich information on the driving environment in real time such as traffic lights ahead.
Apollo Robotaxi is set to offer passenger rides in a pilot zone in Changsha covering a total area of 70 square kilometers and on 135 km of open roads. The zone, thought to be the largest of its kind in China, includes complex road conditions and the most advanced vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems.
Within the pilot zone, Apollo Robotaxi will expand the trial operation to around 50 kilometers by the end of 2019, then to all 135 kilometers in the first half of 2020.
Changsha residents can apply to become test passengers after registering with Apollo’s website.
The Changsha city government issued permits for 45 self-driving cars to Baidu, the leading Chinese-language Internet search provider, in June this year.