(Yicai Global) April 3 -- Baidu, the Chinese internet giant that is investing heavily in autonomous driving, will start a self-driving cab service later this year.
Baidu will start commercially operating 100 autopilot taxis in designated areas of Changsha, the capital of China's central Hunan province, in the second half of 2018, Beijing Business Today reported, citing co-founder and Chief Executive Robin Li.
Guangzhou's Baiyun Taxi Group and its partners tested a similar service in the city last November, but the local authorities prohibited the unlicensed service.
Beijing-based Baidu, Changsha Xiandao Industrial Investment and Hunan Xiangjiang Intelligent Technology Innovation Center jointly set up a project company called Hunan Apollo Smart Travel Technology on April 1 to get the wheels rolling. Baidu announced last October that it plans to use its own Apollo platform to run self-driving cabs and buses in Hunan.
Changsha has stepped up efforts to build smart manufacturing and driving facilities in the 1,200-square-kilometer Xiangjiang New Area in the city's north. The development zone has over 350 firms, including those in artificial intelligence, Big Data, and self-driving vehicles.
Editor: Emmi Laine