Baidu has been granted the first permits to provide fully driverless ride-hailing services in China’s capital, Beijing. These permits will allow Baidu to operate autonomous ride-hailing vehicles in Beijing with no driver or safety operator onboard.
This will mark the first time that a fully driverless fleet has operated in any capital city worldwide. The deployment will also further expand Baidu’s autonomous ride-hailing network, which includes Wuhan, and Chongqing.
With these latest permits, Baidu will deploy 10 fully driverless vehicles in Beijing’s Yizhuang Economic Development Zone, which is the city’s designated Beijing High-Level Automated Demonstration Area (BJHAD).
According to the Beijing Municipal Government Work Report for 2023, the city plans to expand the BJHAD area beyond its existing 60 square kilometres towards an eventual 500 square kilometres, which could further expand Baidu’s network.
Beijing is also exploring ways to operate autonomous vehicles between the Yizhuang Economic Development Zone and the city’s nearby airport.