Google's Rival in China, Baidu Launches Robot Taxis With No Human Driver, Staff Inside

Google's Rival in China, Baidu Launches Robot Taxis With No Human Driver, Staff Inside

  • Baidu, Google's main rival, has launched robot taxis that work without a human present, be it a driver or staff
  • The company said it has already begun testing the vehicles in cities like Yizhuang
  • Other companies, such as Google's Waymo and General Motor's Cruise in the US, are already operating robot taxis

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The Chinese tech company and search engine giant Baidu have announced that it can now use robot taxis in a part of Beijing with no human staff or drive inside.

The move eradicates the need for human labour or operating costs for allowing self-driving taxis in several cars.

Robot taxi, human drivers
Chinese company releases robot taxi
Source: UGC

Robot taxis reduces labour costs

The Chinese government approval initially covers 10 vehicles in the Beijing locality of Yizhuang, which is the base of many companies such as

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CNBC reporting says that Yizhuang is the leading site of Baidu's robot taxi public road testing operation in Beijing City.

In November 2021, local government authorities allowed Baidu and other taxi operators like to charge ride fares.

Public transport users can book heavily subsidized robot taxi rides through the firms' apps.

Baidu has stated that in major Chinese cities, its self-driving taxis complete an average of more than 15 rides per vehicle daily, almost at par with traditional ride-hailing services.

The company stated in August last year that it has gotten approval to operate some driverless and staff-less robot taxis in localities of major cities like Wuhan and Chongqing.

US firms launch driverless taxis

In the United States, laws for testing robot taxis and charging riders vary by city and state. Alphabet, Google's parent company Waymo and GM's subsidiary, Cruise, have operated public robot taxi services in the US with no human driver or staff inside.

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Baidu's shares jumped by more than 15%t during Hong Kong trading on Friday, March 17, 2023.

The company's stock closed at eight-week lows on Thursday, March 16, 2023, after Baidu unveiled its AI-powered Ernie bot, a Chinese language competitor to ChatGPT.

The company's CEO, Robin Li, said the company's bot, Ernie, could have been better, emphasizing the need to improve the product.

There have been concerns about robots replacing humans in several factories in China and worldwide.

The electric car company Tesla is developing a bot and humanoid to take on several tasks, eliminating the need for human labour when it becomes fully operational.

Israeli company successfully tests personal flying car for land and air travel, to cost over N67 million reported that an Israeli startup company, AIR ONE, has completed the first unmanned cruise flight of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL).

The company is now targeting the end of 2024 when it will begin to sell the first batch of flying aircraft to the general public.

The country's Civil Aviation Authority witnessed the test flight and issued an airworthiness certificate.


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Pascal Oparada (Business editor) Pascal Oparada is a Mass Communications Graduate from Yaba College of Technology with over 10 years of experience in journalism. He has worked in reputable media organizations such as Daily Independent, TheNiche newspaper, and the Nigerian Xpress. He is a 2018 PwC Media Excellence Award winner.