Baidu Showcases First Self-Driving Taxi

Baidu, a Chinese search engine and artificial intelligence firm, showcased its latest self-driving taxi that will soon be a part of the Baidu robotaxi fleet across China. 

“We are moving towards a future where taking a robotaxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today,” co-founder and CEO of Baidu, Robin Li, said at the firm’s World conference on Thursday. 

According to Li, the fully electric vehicle, Apollo RT6, has a removable steering wheel that would allow more space for the installation of more seats, a gaming console, or a vending machine. 

“This massive cost reduction will enable us to deploy tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles across China,” Li added. 

In recent years, Chinese search engine and online advertising services company Baidu, invested in autonomous driving and artificial intelligence technology, as China pushes forward with its artificial intelligence ambitions. 

In 2017, China pledged to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030 and aimed to make the industry worth $147.7 billion. 

China and the United States have since engaged in a competition over who would dominate future strategic technologies and encouraged massive investments in AI research and development within their countries. 

In 2018, US firm Alphabet’s Waymo introduced the first commercial self-driving taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona. 

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