Commuters in Shenzhen will now be able to test out AutoX’s fleet of fully driverless vehicles in a robotaxi pilot program, marking another milestone for the autonomous driving startup.
AutoX will start offering selected passengers rides in its commercial RoboTaxis with no human attendant on board after they sign up for its robotaxi program in Shenzhen, one of China’s most populated cities, the company announced Thursday.
In a video released by the company, the RoboTaxi is seen carrying a passenger and making U-turns, navigating busy intersections and avoiding cyclists and pedestrians at crossings — all without a driver.
AutoX, founded in 2016 and backed by Alibaba, has been operating its RoboTaxi pilot program with safety drivers in Shanghai and conducting fully driverless stress tests in Shenzhen since last year. Shanghai users can book an AutoX RoboTaxi ride via the Alibaba AutoNavi app.
The vehicles run on the company’s newly released 5th generation autonomous driving system that includes a pair of LiDAR sensors placed on both sides of the vehicle, “4D” radar sensors and multiple blind spot sensing suites. These technologies will allow the vehicle to handle dense traffic scenarios, including pedestrians, cyclists and pets interacting at close range to the vehicle.
AutoX competes with ride-hailing giant Didi, which launched its fleet of robotaxis last June in Shanghai. Other domestic rivals include Pony.ai, Baidu and WeRide.
In July, AutoX became the third company after Waymo and Nuro to obtain a permit in California to test its fully self-driving vehicles on streets within a designated part of San Jose.