AutoX, a Chinese self-driving company that is backed by Alibaba BABA -2.1 percent and others, has revealed that its Robotaxi service, which has no safety drivers, will now be accessible to the people in Shenzhen. In the fall of last year, they started tests mostly with employees. This is similar to Waymo, that last fall also opened its services to the public at large, even though Waymo was providing services to a restricted portion of people through an experimental program in the previous two years.
AutoX operates test robotaxi services in Shanghai too. However, it utilizes security drivers. After having been tested in the Chinese government-owned test center for self-driving in Shenzhen and Shanghai, the vehicles are now certified to provide real robotaxi service. The cars are summoned through an app that is able to summon human-driven ride-hails as well as the robotaxi. It’s unclear whether the user can demand they receive a robotaxi or if they’re given a choice based on availability and if the travel route is within the limits of service for the vehicle.
AutoX opens Real Robotaxi Service In China For The General Public
AutoX is also a trial license to operate with no driver safety in California. However, it hasn’t yet deployed the service. Users can sign up for the service on the AutoX website, but at the moment, there are no reports on how the experience was and how many who apply for rides will be granted. Members will be able to communicate with AutoX agents, and the rides will be supervised by a remote operation center located in Shenzhen.
A video demonstration outlines the specifications of the car as well as an experience in the Pacifica minivan, the same model used by Waymo as its platform for their service. The ride is on open and uncrowded roads for the majority of the trip, but there are some unusual circumstances. Details about the entire extent of the operation were not made public, nor were any figures.
The vehicles are located within the Pingshan district, which is a peaceful suburb in Shenzhen. Since it’s Chinese and more populated as compared to Chandler, Arizona, where Waymo operates and is, however, like a parallel area, which is why it was selected to test pilots. Pingshan is the location of many various Chinese self-driving pilots and tests.
When we do not see figures from AutoX and AutoX, we cannot judge their work easily. But just the fact that they are willing to let people enjoy the vehicles without safety drivers says something about the level of confidence within AutoX as well as the government regulators as well. AutoX is only the second company that has the courage to make this decision.
AutoX was founded in 2016 by Jianxiong Xiao, MIT/Princeton. popularly referred to in the media as “Professor of X.”
In another development, yet another Chinese firm, Baidu, has announced they have been granted a license to test cars that have no security driver in California. Many businesses (including AutoX) have these permits. However, no one has conducted significant tests in this manner, except possibly Nuro.