Whether it’s in the city or suburbs of Beijing, we’re seeing 240msternlichtforbes more and more Autonomous vehicles on the road. And there are some very good reasons for it. Let’s look at a few of them.
Autonomous vehicles testing in four major Chinese cities
Despite the flurry of news involving autonomous cars in China, the industry remains in its infancy. Still, the industry is making progress, with the government providing substantial policy support. And major technology companies are coming on board.
Chinese companies AutoX, Baidu, WeRide, and Pony.ai are among the companies testing the latest autonomous technologies in California. Although these companies are not yet ready to offer a driverless ride-hailing service, they have all begun test runs on open roads.
The most ambitious initiative to date is the project from Chinese tech giant Baidu. Baidu plans to launch autonomous ride-hailing services in nine cities across China by 2020. In addition to the technology, Baidu is investing heavily in infrastructure to support autonomous vehicles.
According to the company, it has recorded more than 16 million miles of autonomous road testing. It is also the first Chinese company to launch self-driving robotaxi services. It expects to operate more than one million self-driving cars by 2030.
Robotaxis charging passengers in a pilot zone in suburban Beijing
Several technology companies have started to offer commercial robotic taxi services in China. Some of these services are designed for public-facing use, while others are more targeted at business and industrial customers. Generally speaking, a robotaxi is an autonomous vehicle that drives itself. There are currently only a few cities in China that have granted permits for testing fully driverless vehicles on public roads.
Baidu, an internet search giant, was granted the first permits to operate driverless robotaxis in two Chinese cities. The company plans to expand its services rapidly. In addition to operating driverless cabs, it will also offer paid services for fully driverless vehicles in designated areas of two megacities. These permits will come into effect on Monday.
Baidu’s robotaxis have undergone multiple tests and licensing processes, including one with a safety operator in the passenger seat. During these trials, Baidu’s self-driving cabs completed an average of 15 rides per day. However, the company has not disclosed the number of cars it will be operating in each city.
Trucking force in the U.S. has since been dissolved
Using a truck as a medium of transportation has been around for centuries. Aside from the ubiquitous big rig, trucking companies are also responsible for a host of smaller vehicles such as shuttles, buses, taxis and the ubiquitous delivery van. The most recent numbers suggest that in excess of ten million people were employed in the sector at the end of the last decade. While the number of vehicles isn’t particularly high, a shortage of qualified drivers has been a major irritant to industry stakeholders, consumers and taxpayers alike.
Trucking companies are attempting to remedy the situation through a number of measures. For example, companies are offering incentives to woo their drivers. In the same breath, federal regulations mandate that a truck be able to operate only a set number of hours in a given day. Another measure is that drivers are required to sign a contract for their services in order to prove their commitment.
Driverless test permit has been suspended in California
Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation suspended a driverless test permit from Pony, a company that operates a fleet of Hyundai Kona vehicles. The company was involved in a vehicle collision that sent the company’s supervisor to the hospital with critical injuries. Despite the company’s claims that they were operating with a safety driver behind the wheel, the permit was suspended.
The Department of Transportation will revoke the manufacturer’s testing permit and provide the manufacturer with 15 days to file a written notice of the suspension. Pony says that it is committed to a safe and reliable fleet of autonomous vehicles, and that it will continue to operate with a safety driver behind the wheel. Pony also states that it has a record of over 6.8 million autonomous miles.
There are approximately 50 companies that are authorized to test self-driving vehicles in California. Of these, eight are allowed to operate without a safety driver. In the event that a crash occurs, all AV permit holders are required to file a crash report.