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Visiting China's Capital City? Don't Be Surprised If Your Taxi Has No Driver

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Baidu, maker of China's top online search engine, wins a permit to operate a fleet of 10 robotaxis in the Chinese capital city of Beijing, making it the first company to operate autonomous vehicles in the region.

The vehicles, which go by the brand name Apollo Go, already operate in two other Chinese cities: Wuhan and Chonqing. Baidu has been conducting testing in Beijing since Dec.

2022, Reuters reports(Opens in a new window), and now has the go-ahead for full deployment. "This marks a major milestone worldwide as the first-ever fully driverless fleet deployed in the capital city of any country," Baidu says(Opens in a new window). "Users can now have access to fully driverless robotaxi service in three megacities in China: Beijing, Wuhan, and Chongqing." Expansion to Beijing suggests growing confidence in the technology.

Over 2 million passengers have ridden in Baidu's Apollo Go autonomous vehicles as of the end of January 2023, the company says.

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