Baidu 'brings autonomous MaaS' to China 

New venture in Guangzhou includes robotaxis as well as driverless buses on fixed routes
Networking & Communication Systems / February 15, 2021
By Ben Spencer
Baidu's service will allow riders to hail taxis from 50 pickup stations (Credit - Baidu)
Baidu's service will allow riders to hail taxis from 50 pick-up stations (© Baidu)

Baidu has deployed a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) autonomous driving platform that will provide artificial intelligence (AI) transportation services in the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

The company, which already runs robotaxis in Beijing, has a fleet of more than 40 autonomous vehicles (AVs) across five different models is operating over the Chinese New Year holiday period, which runs until the 26 February. 

The project is part of an agreement with the Guangzhou Huangpu District government.

Passengers can hail Apollo Robotaxis from more than 50 pick-up stations in the district. 

A batch of New Species Vehicles will drive around the city tasked with routine cleaning and disinfection.

Apolong minibuses will shuttle sightseers to the flower blossoms around parks and lakes.

Apollocop vehicles will operate along the main roads near key areas while the Baidu Robobus will ferry passengers along fixed routes, facilitating travel toward festive destinations.

Riders can make reservations on the Baidu Maps and Apollo Go mobile applications.

Baidu's transportation is complemented by an intelligent network consisting of AI roadside infrastructure and a digital-twin cloud platform. 

Real-time signal light information such as stoplight countdowns, traffic event alerts and intersection queue length are broadcast on the interactive monitors embedded in robobus or robotaxi cabins as well as the exterior screens fixed on the rear of robobuses.

Additionally, passengers can utilise the Baidu Maps app or DuerOS-powered smart rearview mirrors to receive voice alerts of electronic fence monitoring, access signal light reminders, live traffic event venue broadcasting and other connected online services.

As part of the initiative, Baidu is to deploy its ACE (autonomous driving, connected road, efficient mobility) Transportation Engine to help improve traffic flow around the district. 

A large ACE smart traffic electronic display has been set up on an unnamed skyscraper to visually display the AI solutions coordinating smart transportation for local commuters by the transportation bureau. 

Going forward, Baidu is to continue its trial by deploying more than 100 robotaxis and establishing almost 1,000 pick-up stations in Guangzhou Huangpu District.


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