Self driving technology has matured enough that China has just launched Self driving taxi service in Beijing. Remote-sensing technology lidar is just one of the many technologies these unmanned vehicles use to gather data about their surroundings. Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms process and evaluate the data to enable autonomous driving.
Citizens can use apps like Baidu’s Apollo Go and Pony.ai’s PonyPilot+ to call for a self driving taxi. The vehicles run without a human monitor or safety driver. Travelers who need help can speak with service agents over the intercom at any time.
In early March, China Baidu and self driving vehicle start-up Pony.ai to provide fully driverless taxi services. This event was historic because it was the first time in the world that a fleet of fully self driving vehicles was permitted to operate in a major city.
Pony.ai claims that its autonomous driving system was tested in a variety of challenging environments, from busy intersections and winding roads to heavy downpours and sandstorms, and that it performed flawlessly every time. Self driving taxis are currently only allowed to operate in specific areas due to the concerns of complicated road conditions, but it was predicted that this will improve as more data is collected and algorithms are refined.
In the first phase, a human safety driver is present during testing; in the second, a safety driver and a passenger share the front seat; and in the third, the vehicle is capable of fully autonomous operation without the presence of a safety driver.
By 2030, Global consultancy IHS Markit predicts that China’s self-driving taxi services will account for 60% of the country’s ride-hailing market, with a market size of more than 1.3 trillion yuan ($251 billion).
It was believed believes that Self driving taxis will pave the way for the creation of private self driving vehicles, which could be a revolutionary technology with the power to drastically improve people’s lives.
With such technology available, Singapore is also considering having such cars on the road for the benefit of the commuter. We do expect to see ride hailing apps and taxi apps adopting such technology.