Baidu unveils autonomous vehicle without steering wheel

 Taking a robotaxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today

China’s search engine giant Baidu Inc on Thursday unveiled its new autonomous vehicle (AV) with a detachable steering wheel, with plans to put it to use for its robotaxi service in China next year.

Cost per unit will drop to 250,000 yuan ($37,031.55) for the new model, compared with 480,000 yuan for the previous generation, Baidu said in a statement.

“This massive cost reduction will enable us to deploy tens of thousands of AVs across China,” Baidu’s chief executive Robin Li said at the Baidu World conference. “We are moving towards a future where taking a robotaxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today.”

https://www.reuters.com/

California’s first commercial robotaxi

The San Francisco company is owned by General Motors

State officials green-flagged the launch of a fare-based ride-hailing business featuring cars with no human driver at the wheel. Robot-operated Chevy Bolt EVs will be rolled out over the next few weeks by autonomous vehicle maker Cruise. The San Francisco company, owned by General Motors, wouldn’t say how many.

With a permit from the California Public Utilities Commission, Cruise becomes the first commercial robotaxi business in the state and the second in the U.S. The first was launched in 2020 by Alphabet-owned Waymo in Chandler, Ariz. Although driverless cars have been prowling San Francisco streets for years, to date they’ve either been staffed with human safety drivers or, if fully driverless, occupied by company employees.

Potential customers of the new service can download an app for the service, the company said, but may not be approved for a while until the number of Cruise robotaxis deployed in San Francisco increases. Fares will be similar to what ride-hailing companies charge, the company said.

https://www.latimes.com/