Baidu Gets Permits For Driverless Taxi Service In China

Chinese technology giant %Baidu ($BIDU) has received the permits needed to operate a self-driving taxi service within China.

Baidu, which also operates China’s largest search engine, said it received regulatory approvals for its autonomous ride-hailing service called %ApolloGo and can now operate %DriverlessTaxis during the daytime in the cities of Chongqing and Wuhan.

Baidu is the first company within China to receive approval to operate a self-driving taxi service.

Baidu is required to have a human safety operator present in the vehicles but not a human driver, the company said.

The permits allow Baidu to provide driverless robotaxi services in designated areas of Wuhan from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and in Chongqing from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

In North America, driverless taxis have not yet been approved and ride hailing giants such as %Uber and %Lyft have abandoned plans to launch self-driving taxis in major cities such as San Francisco and Toronto.

However, Waymo One, the autonomous ride-hailing service operated by Google parent company %Alphabet ($GOOGL), does offer driverless rides in Phoenix, Arizona.

Baidu stock is down 9% this year and trading at $136.40 U.S. per share.

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