Robotaxi services in China will refuse from insuring drivers from 2023September 15, 2020
Technological companies will gradually (in fact, over the next 5-7 years) deprive taxi drivers of their jobs. Chinese startups WeRide, DiDi Chuxing, AutoX and others, which have already launched pilotless taxi test services in Guangzhou and Shanghai, are preparing a full rollout of the service in the next three years. According to CNBC, all of these companies expect to build a commercially viable business model, in which there will be no costs of paying for insurance drivers by 2025.
WeRide is one of the first companies to launch a self-driving taxi service back in the middle of last year. The startup brought a fleet of 50 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles onto public roads and kept the same cost as traditional taxi services. In the cabins of WeRide cars there is a driver who can take control in an emergency, and the user can perform all actions through the smartphone application. WeRide currently uses 100 vehicles, but plans to expand the fleet to 500 models.
“Robotaxi is replacing human labor with AI. The cost of equipment drops by 20-30% every year. On the other hand, human labor with the development of the Chinese economy and the aging of society … loses its value. Within 20 or 30 years, we will transform the taxi profession into a job that has only existed in history … as a typist, ”says Tony Khan, CEO of WeRide.
Khan suggests that the robo taxi rollout will take place between 2023 and 2025, and WeRide will start making money from the business by 2025.
AutoX is an equally influential robotaxi startup supported by tech giant Alibaba. The company received approval to operate its cars from Shanghai authorities just last month, but has already put 100 self-driving cars on the roads, uses 5G connectivity to a smart V2X (Vehicle-to-everything) system and offers taxi calls through Alibaba’s AutoNavi app. Currently, the service is only available in one suburb of Shanghai, but will soon appear in new areas, and then go to other cities.
“Robotaxi is the main market for self-driving cars,” said Jianxiong Xiao, head of AutoX.
AutoX representatives are more optimistic than competitors from WeRide. According to Xiao, the startup will start making money as early as 2022 if the regulation of unmanned services goes according to plan. If the timeline shifts, then AutoX will become a commercially viable enterprise one year later – in 2023.
DiDi Chuxing launched a free robo taxi service in Shanghai just two months ago and offers travel on paved routes with a “safety net” in the form of a company specialist, but has already developed the most ambitious plan among robotaxi suppliers – to create a national infrastructure of robotic taxis in China. DiDi aims to bring a million robotic taxis to Chinese roads by 2030. To this end, the company has already entered into an agreement with the BAIC Group, which will establish mass production and supply of vehicles with a fourth-level autopilot by 2025.
Consulting firm McKinsey predicts that China is well positioned to become the largest market for autonomous vehicles. Analysts believe that cars without drivers will account for up to 66% of the total mileage of all types of vehicles by 2040. If the forecast is confirmed, companies engaged in this sector will earn more than $ 1.1 trillion in the next 20 years. on services and about $ 900 billion in sales of unmanned vehicles.
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