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27 Dec, 2022
1 min time to read

Autonomous taxis now operating from 7 am to 11 pm in Wuhan, China

Chinese internet giant Baidu has expanded its autonomous taxi service in Wuhan, allowing its unmanned robotaxis to operate between 7am and 11pm. Previously, the vehicles were only allowed to operate between 9am and 5pm.

The updated service is expected to cover one million customers in certain areas of the city, which has a population of over 10 million. In Q3, Baidu's robotaxi hailing app, Apollo Go, completed over 474,000 rides, a 311% increase from the previous year. The app has now exceeded 1.4 million orders in total.

While Baidu's expansion into autonomous taxi services could potentially generate significant revenue, it is worth noting that it is not uncommon for Chinese robotaxi operators to offer discounts and incentives to attract riders. It is also difficult to determine which of China's autonomous taxi start-ups are in the lead, as their success often depends on their relationship with the local government and its ability to pass legislation supporting autonomous vehicles.

However, autonomous driving is receiving strong support from authorities across China, with Wuhan being one of the first cities to allow robotaxis to transport the public without in-car safety operators. Baidu has also been working on developing its visual-language model, which allows autonomous vehicles to identify rare or unseen objects in a variety of scenarios.