After starting to test autonomous vehicles in Cangzhou, China last summer, Baidu has now obtained the necessary permits to experiment with how he will monetize these vehicles. The town, located about 149 miles south of Beijing, granted the company’s Apollo Go robotaxi service permission to conduct market testing with 35 cars and 10 additional licenses with which to test fully driverless vehicles
Baidu says the permits will allow it to become the first company in China to start testing a paid robotaxi offering. So far, it has offered these rides to people for free, marking a significant milestone in its goal of bringing the service to market. It is also the first company in Cangzhou to obtain permission to test fully driverless vehicles on the city’s roads. Previously, its city tests involved safety drivers in cars.
To obtain the permits, Baidu had to test 50,000 kilometers (31,068 miles) on local roads. In early March, the company said its Cangzhou fleet had accumulated around 326,030 miles. Outside of Cangzhou, Baidu is also testing driverless vehicles in Bejing and Changsha, the capital of China’s Hunan Province. He hopes to expand the service to 30 cities over the next three years.