AutoX sends robotaxis into public service

AutoX sends robotaxis into public service

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

In a video, the company shows how the fully driverless RoboTaxi operates from a passenger’s perspective. The vehicle runs on regular public roads in the city, takes unprotected left turns at busy intersections, makes side passes on streets, deals with a scooter running traffic lights, and more.

AutoX is the only R&D team in China with AI software and automotive-grade hardware as a background, Jiangxiong Xiao, founder and CEO of AutoX Inc recently told an international technology conference. Equipped with a full range of sensors, the AutoX autonomous vehicles can drive even in the dark or in heavy rain, giving them the capability to even merge into already crowded lanes. “This is a big challenge,” Xiao said during the presentation.

Regarding the electronics architecture and the technologies used, Xiao only said that the development focus is on “AI as a driver”.

The AutoX founder can imagine two areas of application for his vehicles: as autonomous taxis (“moving people”) or trucks (“moving goods”). On the question of the commercialisation strategy, the AutoX CEO explained “As a technology company, we aim to partner with local taxi companies and have already signed some such partnerships in major cities.” In addition, the company is also interested in relevant partnerships with OEMs, he said.

One of the driving forces behind the rapid development of autonomous driving is demographics, Xiao said. China needs autonomous cars to sustain economic growth – for example, because of an ageing population. “In the future, there simply won’t be enough young people to drive taxis for the elderly.” Moreover, autonomous cars are also urgently needed to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the roads – the country currently records around 700 road fatalities per day.

Xiao sees a huge market potential: by 2030, he expects 8 million self-driving cars worldwide. In China, autonomous cars will account for 13 per cent of total passenger transport mileage this year.

With the rapid development of autonomous driving, the technology gap with the US is closing: in 2019, of the top five players in this field (measured by kilometres travelled without human intervention) in California, three were from China.

More information:

Video of AutoX self-driving vehicles:

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