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China's First Fully Unmanned Self-Driving Vehicle Approved in Chongqing


Chongqing- China’s first fully unmanned demonstration operation qualification was recently issued in Yongchuan District, Southwest China’s Chongqing, according to the country’s Internet giant Baidu on August 7, which allows the internet giant to operate the autonomous driving taxi in the city.

“Apollo Go,” an automatic driving vehicle under Baidu Apollo, has obtained the qualification to conduct the commercial transportation service of unmanned automatic driving in Yongchuan’s urban areas. This marks the official launch of Baidu’s “Apollo Go” automated paid transport service in Chongqing, which Yongchuan citizens can try out by downloading the app (application).


“Apollo Go” automatic driving vehicle. (iChongqing file photo)

Since Baidu began researching automatic driving, it has accumulated over 32 million kilometers of test mileage and over 4,000 related patents, and it will provide several technical and service guarantees for the demonstration of unmanned vehicles across all vehicles, according to Wu Qiong, a senior expert at Baidu’s intelligent driving operation management department.

For example, Baidu will use 5G technology to implement a parallel cockpit support system in Yongchuan. The safety officer can remotely observe the operation status of automatic driving vehicles in real-time, controlling the vehicle when necessary to ensure the passengers’ safety.

As of December 2021, the Baidu Apollo automatic driving transportation service platform “Apollo Go” officially landed in Yongchuan with 14 automatic driving vehicles that have obtained the commercial demonstration operation qualification in Yongchuan. In the seven months it has been operational, citizens have experienced a positive transport experience.

Based on this, the unmanned demonstration vehicles put into operation this time have gone through several test stages, achieving safe operation mileage of tens of thousands of kilometers.

Intelligent connected vehicle

The all-vehicle unmanned demonstration operation vehicle is not alone on the road, which relies on Yongchuan’s solid, intelligent connected vehicle (ICV) industry.

In 2019, Yongchuan began to lay out and develop the ICV, building an open test and demonstration operation base for automatic driving in western China. In 2021, it was approved as Chongqing’s policy pilot area for ICV.

Experts said that introducing the first all-vehicle unmanned demonstration operation qualification in Yongchuan indicates that the intelligent vehicle automatic driving business model is moving towards service and product testing, which will drive the national intelligent vehicle industry forward.

ICV automatic driving consists of three technical levels: conditional automatic, highly automatic, and fully automatic driving. Baidu Apollo, Google’s Waymo, and General Motors’ Cruise are the three top players in the driverless field. The leading global research firm Navigant Research ranked Baidu Apollo as one of the top global leaders in autonomous driving in 2020. 

(Ge Rngchen, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)


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