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Beijing forays into robotaxi commercialization

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Image credit : CnEVPost Beijing has now given approval to robtaxi operators to charge fares for fully driverless taxis in  suburban Yizhuang district. Pony.ai and Baidu Inc are two key players in the list of the companies which have got such approvals.  Earlier, the robotaxis would require an employee to sit with the passenger but the latest robotaxis are fully autonomous and they totally eliminate the driver’s cost. More approvals for robotaxi operations in the capital city are in the offing, said Ning Zhang, vice president at Pony.ai and chief of its Beijing research and development center. The recent development of driverless robotaxis signifies passengers can reserve them for rides without staff inside from companies. The initiative marks the official commercialization of robotaxi in Beijing.   [caption id="attachment_193966" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]Beijing allows robotaxi Image credit : CNN[/caption] In 2021, Beijing granted robotaxi operators permission to charge passengers for their services during testing and established a three-step framework for autonomous driving trials in the city. This framework involves having a safety monitor in the main driver seat, a safety staff member in the copilot's seat, and no personnel inside the car in the final step. “Chinese authorities are increasingly confident in the autonomous-driving technologies developed by domestic tech firms,” said Gao Shen, an independent analyst in Shanghai. “Operation of driverless taxis in Beijing will be a big test for the safety and viability of the technologies, and the robotaxi service will be expanded fast across the country if the trial run in Beijing proves to be a success.” Also read : The iPhone 14's reparability issues are causing repair professionals to quit, says iFixit Out of more than 200 robotaxis that Pony.ai operates in the region, only about ten are currently fully driverless, Zhang said. He noted that Beijing city considers seven factors in a phased process of allowing public robotaxi operation, including which seat the safety driver is sitting in and whether the car is being used for testing or for commercial operation.

By Awanish Kumar

I keep abreast of the latest technological developments to bring you unfiltered information about gadgets.

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