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Apollo Autonomous Bus Enters Trial Service in Chongqing

By JAMES ALEXANDERICHONGQING|Sep 14,2021

Chongqing– The Hi-Tech Zone of Chongqing has introduced its first self-driving bus service in the Jinfeng Area on a trial basis, and it is expected that the successful application of the new route will be expanded in scale across the city.

The Apollo self-driving bus in the Hi-Tech Zone is the latest product developed jointly between Baidu and King Long, and has undergone strict inspections by the China Merchants Automobile Research Institute before entering road trials, having passed various tests with excellent results.

Equipped with a fusion perception system composed of multiple sensors, this vehicle applies the latest Apollo autopilot operations framework. It can complete autopilot tasks on most roads in virtually all weather conditions, and has overall performed to an excellent level. In terms of algorithms and passenger experience, it has achieved a world-leading standard in this technology.

A circular route 5.5 kilometers in length connects a number of public bus services and important nearby locations. Members of the public may currently use the service free of charge by generating a mobile QR code at the bus stop.

The main reasons behind this are to first satisfy regulations and policies, because the Chongqing Municipal Autonomous Driving Road Test Management Measures require information on the physical condition and experience of passengers. Registration and safety agreements detailed in the mobile QR code are a pre-condition and legal requirement when taking a ride on the self-driving bus.

Secondly, free QR code access facilitates management when counting the passenger flow at each station over the day, which allows for more convenient dispatch, scheduling and other tasks in the operation process.

China currently enacts laws and regulations with strict requirements for the operation of self-driving buses. As a new product in the testing stage, this unmanned vehicle does not yet meet the conditions for an operating license, so passengers cannot be charged a transport fee through ordinary channels like common buses.

Naturally, the government and industry are seeking breakthroughs to guide autonomous driving technology towards demonstration applications and fee-generating operations. In some areas such as Yongchuan District, this has already been achieved since two self-driving buses began operations.

Through feedback during the trial operations, the public has generally expressed great satisfaction towards the self-driving bus, and the developers hope the vehicle will evolve into a fully unmanned public bus service as soon as possible, and continue solving transportation issues for local residents

Today, iChongqing reporter James Alexander takes you on a roundtrip journey to experience the latest application of smart autonomous buses in Chongqing.

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