Chinese AI taxi startup gains license

by May 2, 2022 0 comments

With its announcement of getting a license to operate driverless cars in the Guangzhou city district of Nansha, China, driving tech company will become the first autonomous company in the space in the country.

The Toyota Motor Corp-backed taxi operator can now deploy vehicles and charge fares for the ride in China. The permit has been granted to operate 100 such driverless cars. The startup has acquired approval to launch paid driverless robotaxi services in Beijing and has since begun expanding. However, rides are being offered in a much smaller, industrial zone on a trial basis.

The company said it will start charging fares in the entire 800 square km of the Nanshadistrict with driverless cars. Passengers can hail and pay for rides with the app. The plan is to initially operate such cars with safety drivers. But, the company expects to phase them out “over the short to intermediate time frame”.

The announcement is being made at a time when a fleet of startups are jumping on the bandwagon and investing billions of dollars into autonomous technology. This trend is bound to redefine city commute and the future of mobility. has been active in the United States and China, testing its driverless technology on public roads in California’s Fremont and Milpitas, as well as the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Beijing.

In recent months, Momenta, and automaker SAIC gained official approval for a trial for their robotaxi service in Shanghai’s Jiading district, a move that followed a similar move in Guangzhou by Nissan-baked Weride. In Shenzhen, Alibaba-backed AutoX is also testing robotaxis — observed by safety drivers — in a highly congested urban area with lots of pedestrian and moped traffic.

This indicates the Guangzhou government’s formal implementation of autonomous driving mobility services like traditional taxi and ride-hailing platforms. With successful commercialization in Beijing and Guangzhou, plans to expand its commercialized robotaxi footprint to the other two Tier-1 cities in China next year and to more cities by the start of’s mass commercialization planned for 2024/2025. currently has autonomous vehicle testing and operations in all four of China’s Tier-1 cities and in California.

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