Last week, AutoX, a start-up company backed by Alibaba, Media Tek and Shanghai Motors, announced that it will roll out a fleet of autonomous vehicles in downtown Shenzhen, China, called RoboTaxis. While autonomous vehicle programs have been popping up all over the world, this is the first time these vehicles will be deployed in China without safety drivers onboard or remote operators monitoring the vehicle.
However, in order to meet the stringent government safety requirements for autonomous vehicle testing, these self-driving cars had to conduct more than 18,600 miles of “perfect test driving” on open, public roads before also undergoing a safety evaluation on a closed test track.
The vehicles that will be hitting the public streets will use artificial intelligence (AI) that has been used to transport more than 100,000 passengers across 27 cities around the globe. Note that, while these vehicles will be considered autonomous and without a human driver onboard, there will be human assistance “on-call” for emergency purposes through AutoX’s 5G Remote Driving Service. This service helps to create an extra level of safety. This fleets’ operation will allow these RoboTaxis to gradually reduce human intervention, which is a key step to the widespread commercialization of autonomous vehicle technologies. Where will these driverless vehicles end up next? Stay tuned.