China’s First Robotaxis Debut in Changsha
China’s first batch of Level 4 (fully automated driving) driverless taxis – Robotxi Hongqi E-Jie, made their debut at the National Intelligent Connected Vehicle (Changsha) Testing Zone on August 2. A public road test run with passengers will be launched within the year.
Robotaxi Hongqi E-Jie, cooperatively produced by Baidu and the FAW-Hongqi, is FAW-Hongqi’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV). Multiple self-driving-assistance systems are equipped, supported by the camera, laser radar, and sensor atop the vehicle; the touch control panel in the vehicle; and, the data processor in the trunk. With these facilities, the vehicle can identify traffic lights, detect surroundings and obstacles, and realize precise positioning and navigation.
In recent years, Changsha has been striving to build itself a national intelligent manufacturing center, and develop AI industry with intelligent connected vehicles as the core. The National Intelligent Connected Vehicle (Changsha) Testing Zone in the Xiangjiang New Area has the most simulation scenes, highest comprehensive performance, and most complete testing services.
The Xiangjiang Intelligent Technology Innovation Center manager presented that, a 100-km public road and a 100-km smart expressway are under construction at the testing zone. After completion, the Robotaxi will begin test run with passengers on the two sections. Changsha residents will have the chance to taste the self-driving technology.
In order to guarantee safe automated driving on the public road, the Xiangjiang Intelligent Technology Innovation Center collaborated with Baidu and the Changsha Pilot Industrial Investment Co., Ltd. to establish the Hunan Apollo Intelligent Mobility Co., Ltd. The new company will be responsible for the closed test, public road test, and official operation of Robotaxis. In addition to the intelligent sensors, each Robotaxi will have a security member and a tester, to guarantee safe operation.