The robot (taxi) revolution is under way! Are you in?!
Indeed… a new self-driving taxi service has just launched in China. It’s known as the AutoX RoboTaxi, and it’s already in operation throughout Shanghai.
The new “robo-taxis” are the result of a partnership between Alibaba (using their Amap platform) and AutoX, an autonomous driving technology company headquartered in San Jose, California.
While the concept of self-driving cars has been in development for a while – with experiments coming from Google, Uber, Waymo and more – it’s the first time autonomous cars have become available in China.
That’s not the only unique thing about this new launch, though. Not only is this the first ride-sharing platform to use self-driving vehicles in China, it’s also the first time a self-driving taxi will be allowed to reach the maximum 50 mph non-highway speed. Yeah… these aren’t just driverless cars, they’re FAST driverless cars!
So, how do you get one of these RoboTaxis?
First off: you need to live in Shanghai. The RoboTaxis are currently in a public beta there, and right now it’s the only place you’ll find them.
Hailing a RoboTaxi is actually pretty simple – in fact, it’s comparable to any other ride hailing service. You simply book it through the Amap app, and within minutes, the RoboTaxi will appear.
Users can choose between humans and RoboTaxis, or they can choose both – meaning they’ll get the nearest one available.
You can also freely choose your starting and ending destination, unlike some other self-driving programs – which limit you to fixed trips.
The program launched with a beta test in early April, and they plan to have 100 RoboTaxis on the streets by the time the test ends.
So what do you think? Would you trust a self-driving taxi? How about one that goes over 50 mph? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know!
Learn more on the AutoX website.