News JVTech China: Autonomous taxis are already a reality, and they run at night!
Published on 28/12/2022 at 15:50
With all the works of fiction that rocked our childhood, we are gradually starting to see technologies from films directly in our reality. China is a very fertile ground for technological innovations, and fully autonomous taxis are already here and very successful.
China is one step ahead of us…
While Elon Musk is talking about him with his Tesla, China continues to surprise us with its technologies straight out of our science fiction movies. The FSD (Full Self Driving) chip present on the latest Tesla vehicles still struggles to recognize certain elements and yet the Chinese company Baidu is already breaking records.
Today, the 10 million people who populate the city of Wuhan can freely order a taxi without a driver at any time.. The company behind all this network is called Baidu, which in addition to owning the reference search engine in China, has already developed a good part of their autonomous taxi network.
The company already offers fully autonomous taxis that can run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the city. How about later in the evening? Quite simply because the chips in the autonomous driving systems were not powerful enough to recognize obstacles in low light. From now on, residents of Wuhan will be able to travel freely by autonomous taxi from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. A much wider time slot which guarantees Baidu even more substantial revenues for its market, but which also benefits the public who benefit from an even more flexible service than before.
The inhabitants of Wuhan being confined to the timetables delimited by the technology of Baidu, they will now be able to take advantage of a more complete service, by booking races via their smartphone.
On the side of Tesla, which wants to highlight fully autonomous private vehicles, we are waiting to see the performance of the future FSD 4.0 chip, engraved by TSMC, which should offer better performance on all recognition, even in dark places.
Massive investments for the improvement of autonomous taxis
Baidu continues to grow, and its Wuhan-based taxi network may begin to expand to other territories. The Chinese company uses LiDAR sensors, which allow almost perfect recognition of the environment, even at night.
It is the ApolloGo subsidiary, responsible for the autonomous taxi network, which is seeing their figures grow, with no less than 474,000 journeys made in the third quarter of 2022, and in all, 1.4 million journeys.
Baidu continues to invest heavily in autonomous driving technology, in particular to offer more sensitive sensors, which can recognize the smallest obstacles and even recognize the models of vehicles around us.
For the time being, Baidu has not yet spoken of expanding its network in other major Chinese cities, but we imagine that given the colossal investments put in place, we should see these cars circulating almost everywhere in China.