Hongqi and Baidu have a deep cooperation relationship. They have built the first batch of front-loaded mass-produced L4 self-driving cars in China based on Hongqi EV. Although these vehicles have not been widely spread on open roads, Baidu has used them to explore Robotaxi services in limited areas in multiple cities. Perhaps soon, Baidu will roll out the service to a new city.
A few days ago, Baidu and Chongqing Yongchuan District Government jointly established the Baidu Western Autonomous Driving Open Test Base project. According to the official, the total investment of this project is 1 billion yuan, which is the first L4 level autonomous driving open test base project in China. After the first phase of the project is completed, it can carry more than 100 self-driving cars for test demonstration.
It is understood that the project plans to build a test base of 20 km2 and 180km-road in both directions in three areas of Yongchuan District, it will set up Baidu Apollo autonomous driving test operation center. The project mainly conducts the construction of open road test fields for autonomous driving, research on autonomous driving technology, test operation of autonomous driving vehicles, and cultivation of the autonomous driving big data service industry, and creates a full-chain test and inspection service with “virtual simulation + closed test + open test” ability.
The establishment of the autonomous driving test operation center will help Baidu promote the landing of autonomous taxis in the local area. Around this project, Yongchuan will build a key technology research and innovation application demonstration platform to accelerate the gathering and settlement of industrial ecological enterprises such as intelligent networking and autonomous driving.
In addition to Chongqing, Baidu has launched autonomous driving testing or operation services in Changsha, Hunan, Cangzhou, Hebei, and Xiong’an New District. In June 2019, Baidu obtained 45 self-driving manned test licenses issued by Changsha, and established a self-driving taxi fleet of the same size locally. In December of the same year, Baidu received another 40 autonomous driving manned test licenses issued by Beijing. Baidu’s autonomous taxi service is gradually being rolled out.