Baidu Apollo has received clearance from Beijing transportation authorities to put five of its fully driverless vehicles on road tests, making the company the first and only to get the permit to trial on Beijing streets.
Driverless operations are necessary for cost reduction and scalability of autonomous driving. The permit paves the way for commercialisation of driverless vehicles. It will also enable Baidu to gradually reduce human intervention on test vehicles, eventually removing in-car safety drivers from its autonomous vehicle road tests.
Published in November 2020, the Chinese captial’s requirements include obtaining T3 or higher testing ability, completing more than 30,000 kilometres of safe test driving on open roads, and passing an evaluation on a closed track.
Baidu has cleared each of these and has also developed the 5G Remote Driving Service that are powering the test vehicles. The service allows safety drivers to remotely take control of vehicles in case of emergency.