AutoX becomes China’s first to remove safety drivers from robotaxis – ProWellTech
Residents of Shenzhen will see truly driverless cars on the road starting Thursday. AutoX, a four-year startup backed by Alibaba, MediaTek and Shanghai Motors, is deploying a fleet of 25 unmanned vehicles in central Shenzhen, marking the first time a self-driving car in China has conducted unmanned safety or remote operators on public roads.
The cars, intended as robotaxis, are not yet open to the public, an AutoX the spokesperson told ProWellTech.
The milestone came just five months after AutoX obtained a permit from California to begin driverless testing, following in the footsteps of Waymo and Nuro.
It also indicates that China wants to bring its smart driving industry on par with US cities from Shenzhen to Shanghai competing to attract newcomers to self-driving by removing regulatory hurdles, promoting subsidies and building 5G infrastructure.
As a result, each city ends up with its own poster child in space: AutoX and Deeproute.ai in Shenzhen, Pony.ai and WeRide in Guangzhou, Momenta in Suzhou, Baidu’s Apollo fleet in Beijing, to name a few. Autonomous driving companies, in turn, work closely with traditional carmakers to make their vehicles smarter and more suitable for future transportation.
“We got the support of the local government. Shenzhen is making a lot of rapid progress on legislation for self-driving cars, ”the AutoX representative said.
The decision to remove the drivers from the front is operators from a remote center seems like a bold move in one of China’s most populated cities. AutoX equips its vehicles with its proprietary vehicle control unit called the XCU, which it claims has faster processing speed and greater computing power to handle complex road scenarios in Chinese cities.
“[The XCU] it provides multiple levels of redundancy to handle this type of situation, ”AutoX said when asked how its vehicles will react if the cars become rogue.
The company also highlighted the experience it has learned from “millions of miles” driven through China’s densest city centers via its 100 robotaxis in recent years. Its rivals are also aggressively racking up miles to train their self-driving algorithms as they make sizable investments to fund R&D and pilot testing. AutoX itself, for example, has raised more than $ 160 million to date.