The launch of AutoX’s fully driverless robotaxi in January 2021 was a major milestone for the company, as it provided the first commercial robotaxi service in China and made AutoX the second company in the world to operate a robotaxi service without a safety driver in the vehicle.
According to AutoX, the service has been well received by Shenzhen residents and officials alike. Within the first 100 days of operation, the company claims its service has won over a group of loyal users from the traditional ride-hailing market.
“The first 100 days have been a huge step forward for us and for the entire industry in China. We have learned so much from the feedback from our passengers about how to continuously improve our service to make the driverless journeys a fantastic experience,” said Professor Jianxiong Xiao, founder and CEO of AutoX.
Shenzhen, also known as the Silicon Valley of China, is the first and only city in China where fully driverless cars can operate on public roads. Beijing, by contrast, only allows autonomous driverless vehicles to operate with a backseat safety driver present in the second row or co-driver seat, and vehicles may only drive within closed campuses or zones. Similarly, Guangzhou also requires backseat safety drivers in the vehicles with remote control, and they are only permitted to drive at low speeds.
“Our interactions with AutoX operations have been very positive. And this service also provides a great example for us to further polish the legislative framework for fully self-driving cars,” noted a Shenzhen official. The city government of Shenzhen announced recently that it will pass legislation permitting Level 4 self-driving cars on its streets, making Shenzhen the first city in China to do so.
To mark this point in the development of the service, AutoX has released a two-hour video of its robotaxi continuously driving. The video shows the capability of AutoX’s vehicles, including how they drive near other vehicles and cyclists moving in the opposite direction, nudge around illegally parked vehicles and oversized trucks, handle aggressive cut-ins by other vehicles, change lanes and even drive in the opposite lane to bypass other vehicles.
In the two hours of consecutive driving, the car takes 16 ride orders and passes through many Shenzhen landmarks, including the headquarters of BYD, the research center of Evergrande Group, parks, schools, hospitals, construction sites, and residential and industrial areas.