Baidu claims its robotaxis rival traditional ride-hailing in parts of China


Baidu obtained approval to cost fares for its robotaxi rides in the Beijing suburb of Yizhuang in November 2021.

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BEIJING — Chinese tech firm Baidu mentioned its robotaxi business in giant cities is near gaining the identical traction with locals as traditional ride-hailing companies.

During the third quarter, every of Baidu’s self-driving taxis accomplished a mean of greater than 15 rides a day in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, CEO Robin Li mentioned Tuesday, based on a FactSet transcript of the earnings name.

“According to our knowledge, this number is quite close to the average daily rides for traditional ride-hailing services,” Li mentioned. He didn’t share what number of automobiles had been in every native fleet.

For comparability, journeys per lively automobile on ride-hailing apps in New York City averaged about 12 a day in September, based on the newest out there municipal information.

In Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Baidu’s robotaxis — branded Apollo Go — can solely function in sure suburban areas.

The firm didn’t say whether or not it may cost fares for its robotaxi rides in Guangzhou or Shanghai.

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About 12 months in the past, Baidu gained Beijing metropolis’s approval to begin charging fares for robotaxi rides in the district of Yizhuang, about half an hour’s drive from the middle of the capital metropolis.

Those rides nonetheless require a human employees member to take a seat in the automotive.

However, this week Baidu mentioned it obtained approval from native Beijing authorities to check 10 robotaxis with none human employees in the entrance row.

Pony.ai, a start-up that additionally operates a robotaxi business, mentioned it obtained comparable approval.

Both corporations’ robotaxi rides in Beijing’s Yizhuang district stay closely sponsored. A CNBC verify of each Apollo Go and Pony.ai apps Wednesday discovered a reduction of greater than 80% was utilized.

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Baidu has robotaxi operations in many cities in China, and may cost for fares in a minimum of seven, based on the corporate.

Total robotaxi journeys in the third quarter climbed by greater than 300% from a yr in the past to greater than 474,000 rides, the corporate mentioned Tuesday.

When requested through the earnings name when Apollo Go would break even, the corporate mentioned it believed the robotaxi will ultimately be worthwhile and cheaper than present ride-hailing companies, and that the influence of to Baidu’s total revenue and loss and money stream is “manageable.”

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