Baidu has received approval for commercial operation of its autonomous car service in Beijing, as its Apollo Go service, known as Luobo Kuaipao in China, has been authorized to provide paid service in China’s first-ever demonstration zone for commercial autonomous driving.
The autonomous vehicle commercial permit granted by the head office of the Beijing High-level Automated Driving Demonstration Area (BJHAD) allows Baidu to charge fees for autonomous services offered to the public in a designated area. Baidu was among the first service providers to receive such authorization. The issuing of the permits signifies that the development of autonomous driving in China has completed the testing stage to begin wider commercial exploration.
Covering an area of 60km2 in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the service will include over 600 pick-up and drop-off points in both commercial and residential areas. Covering a total of 350km of roads, the service is available every day of the week and by using the Apollo Go app, qualified users can locate one of 67 autonomous cars in the vicinity and hail a ride by themselves.