Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
China Leverage 5G to launch True Driverless Taxi Pilots in 6 cities
A real autonomous taxi without a human driver is coming.
Recently, “Analysis Report on the Operating Capability of China’s Self-driving Cars (2019–2020)” was released in Guangzhou. According to the report, Guangzhou Autonomous Driving will enter a new phase of eliminating safety officers and operating-level 5G remote driving.
The report was prepared by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Autonomous Driving Industry Alliance Secretariat. According to public information, in October 2019, the alliance was established in Guangzhou, sponsored by Guangzhou Public Transport Group Co., Ltd., the Fifth Research Institute of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Guangdong Provincial Department of Transportation, Guangzhou Transportation Leaders of the Bureau, Guangzhou Industry and Information Technology Bureau, Guangzhou Public Security Bureau and other leaders attended the meeting. The alliance’s report has forward-looking guidance on policy trends.
The report pointed out that, according to incomplete statistics, more than 30 provinces and municipalities across the country have issued intelligent network-connected vehicle test management regulations or implementation rules that allow open road testing for autonomous driving. Among them, the six cities of Guangzhou, Changsha, Shanghai, Wuhan, Cangzhou and Beijing are allowed to be tested.
The report also pointed out that the current self-driving road test needs to be equipped with safety officers, and has not yet fully utilized the core advantages of autonomous vehicles. For self-driving taxis, the key point of profitability is to cancel the safety officer, that is, there is no need to pay about 100,000 yuan a year for human drivers. Based on 500,000 yuan in 5 years, the hardware cost of transforming a car into an unmanned taxi can now be less than 500,000 yuan. A number of self-driving startups including AutoX, Wenyuan Zhixing, Momenta have said that the elimination of safety officers will be a key step in the establishment of a driverless taxi business model.
Even if there is no end-of-vehicle security officer, the operation center of the unmanned taxi will still have a remote-end safety officer to monitor the security status of the end of the vehicle through technologies such as 5G and Internet of Vehicles. This is also the new stage pointed out by the report.
In the first half of 2020, China’s L4 autonomous driving company’s unmanned taxi manned test entered a critical stage. AutoX and Wen Yuan Zhixing have successively connected to Gaode Taxi and opened the test to the public. Didi Autopilot has launched a manned testing service in Shanghai. With the policy taking a critical step, the era of truly driverless taxis is coming.
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