Driverless Robotaxi service testing begins in ChinaJuly 13, 2020
Startup WeRide will be the first company in China to experience unmanned taxi service without “safety net” in the form of a human driver. The first tests have already begun on public roads in Guangzhou, reports Reuters.
The Guangzhou administration issued WeRide the first permit for remote control of vehicles in the southern capital of Guangdong. The tests began on July 8, the company published an official statement about this two days later. The first customers can already try out the service, but they won’t be able to go anywhere in the city – WeRide accepts orders so far only in a certain part of the city.
During testing, the company will continue to use certain security measures. The key one is that all the machines are constantly remotely connected via 5G networks to the operations center, where operators monitor the traffic situation for each robotaxi and are ready to take control of it at any time. WeRide also provided for contingencies such as road works or temporary changes to traffic rules in certain sections of the street. In these cases, remote operators will take control of the machines.
“The autonomous WeRide system is leading the industry due to technical stability and safety, and we will completely switch to driving without a driver in the next two to three years. I’m sure WeRide will be the first company to provide Chinese citizens with reliable robotic taxi service. ” – said Tony Han Xu, founder and CEO of WeRide.
The WeRide autopilot meets the fourth level of autonomy, according to a scale compiled by SAE International. The fourth level or “mind off” implies full automation under certain conditions, for example, if the route was prepared in advance for self-propelled vehicles. Most automakers focus on this technology, except for Ilon Mask – Tesla is going to “jump” immediately to the fifth level by the end of 2020.
WeRide is also considered one of the most promising startups in the field of autonomous transport and has already secured the support of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi. The company’s fleet consists of more than 100 cars that have traveled more than 2.6 million kilometers during road tests. WeRide’s competitors are startups AutoX, Pony, ai, Baidu and conglomerate Didi Chuxing. All companies test unmanned taxis in different cities on the territory of China, but not one of them has yet obtained permission to test without the participation of a driver.
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