Shanghai ride-hailers can now call for an AutoX self-driving taxi
Autonomous driving tech company AutoX has partnered with the Alibaba Group's Amap mobility platform to offer folks in Shanghai the option to hail a ride in an AutoX RoboTaxi.
Reported to be the first time such an option has been made available through a major ride-hailing platform in China, a ride-hailer makes a booking through the Amap mobile app. When the pickup and dropoff locations are entered, the app lists all of the available vehicles, including RoboTaxis.
Users can opt to select both a self-driving taxi and a human-driven ride simultaneously, and the app will work out which will arrive first and get things rolling. Where some autonomous taxi services might restrict users to fixed journey start and end locations, the AutoX vehicles can pickup and dropoff anywhere in the city.
There are plans to have 100 RoboTaxis on public roads in Shanghai, which will all communicate with road infrastructure via the city's 5G-based V2X technology to gather traffic data. The service is also said to be the first self-driving taxi service in China able to get up to the maximum non-highway speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), and – given the "new normal" brought about by COVID-19 – passenger identification and the process for starting a ride have been made completely touchless.
AutoX and Amap started accepting early access riders from today, with the service subsequently being opened up to everyone after the initial trial has been completed.