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Posted on : Wednesday 8th July 2020 04:12 PM

Baidu Wins China's First Commercial License for Self-driving Buses

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Chinese search engine giant Baidu is among three companies to acquire a license from the city of Wuhan to operate a commercial transportation service using self-driving vehicles, in a first for China. Authorities hail the move as the starting of the world's first 5G-based driverless commercial service.

Also granted a license were Shanghai-based DeepBlue Technology, which operates self-driving buses on a trial basis in Tianjin and in other places, and Shenzhen Haylion Technologies, an autonomous-driving technology development unit of a state-owned bus company. Licenses for self-driving transportation have been granted in China before, but only for trial services. The country is emerging as a hotbed of development for autonomous vehicles, which rely on large amounts of data to learn the rules of the road. 

The three companies are allowed to provide transportation on a total of 28 km of public roads in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province in central China. They are expected to use generally buses. Suppliers of the necessary infrastructure such as fifth-generation wireless networks include state-run China Mobile and telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies.

Wuhan's initiatives in 5G autonomous-driving technology will serve as a model for other cities, a Huawei executive was quoted as saying in local reports. A China Mobile official expressed confidence in the service, which uses China's BeiDou satellite positioning system.

"The combination of 5G and BeiDou will keep any delay to a matter of thousandths of a second, and allow for centimeter-level positioning accuracy," the official said.

Wuhan, home to state-owned Dongfeng Motor, looks to broaden the public roads available for the new services to 159 km, covering 90 sq. km of area. Baidu last year introduced the commercial launch of what it called the world's first mass-produced self-driving bus.


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