Baidu has launched China’s first 24/7 autonomous ride-hailing service through its Apollo Go platform in selected areas of Wuhan.

This expansion marks the third major operational enhancement for Baidu’s robotaxi service in 2024.

Baidu received approval in February for robotaxi pilot operations on highways to Beijing Daxing Airport, making Beijing the world’s first capital city with an airport robotaxi service.

Wuhan, known for intelligent transportation, has more than 300 fully driverless vehicles operating – covering extensive test mileage and earning strong customer trust.

Baidu has expanded its robotaxi services to more than ten cities in China, including Beijing, Wuhan, Shenzhen and Chongqing.

In a press statement, Baidu said that Apollo Go had provided more than five million cumulative rides as of January 2024 with a user-first approach.

“The frothy early days of autonomous vehicle (AV) development have ended, and early optimism has given way to a more cautious tone,” research company GlobalData said in its AV 2023 thematic report.

The report noted that: “AVs have proven far harder to develop than any company had expected, tempering some of the more outlandish ideas within the sector.”  

Last month, further pressure was placed on California regulators to address AV safety following a rally of legislators and trade unions calling for cities to have more power over AV permits. 

Safety continues to be a concern for AV companies if they wish to gain consumer trust.

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