Chinese search giant Baidu Inc is accelerating its steps to commercialize self-driving technology as part of its broader drive to boost the smart transportation industry across the nation.
Li Zhenyu, vice-president of Baidu and general manager of its intelligent driving group, said the smart transportation segment is expected to witness explosive growth as the nation is speeding up the construction of new infrastructure, such as 5G networks and data centers, which also brings about new opportunities to the commercialization of self-driving technology.
In April, Baidu fully opened its self-driving taxi service Apollo Robotaxi in Changsha, Hunan province. Robo-taxis provide free rides to passengers across an area of 130 square kilometers. The services cover residential and commercial leisure areas as well as industrial parks.
Li said China is taking the lead in the autonomous driving sector around the world, adding Baidu has also carried out passenger-carrying self-driving taxi road tests in Beijing and Cangzhou, North China's Hebei province.
He added the company will continue to increase its investment in road coordination technology, which is used to increase the interaction between smart road infrastructure and self-driving cars, and helps upgrade the urban governance system.
In addition, the Beijing-based tech behemoth has completed construction for the world's largest autonomous driving test base named Apollo Park in Beijing.
Located in Beijing's Yizhuang Economic Development Zone, the 13,500-square-meter Apollo Park supports five key testing areas, including vehicle and accessory storage, long-range big data cloud control, command operations, maintenance, and R&D. At present, over 200 autonomous vehicles have been deployed in Apollo Park.