Briefing: Baidu partners with Changsha to roll out autonomous taxi and bus fleet

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百度自动驾驶出租车将在长沙落地 预计2019年达百辆 – Sina Tech

What happened: Baidu has signed a partnership agreement with the Changsha municipal government to reshape the city’s transport infrastructure. The internet giant has announced plans to roll out self-driving taxi and bus service in Changsha, the capital of southern Hunan province. According to Baidu, it plans to deploy a fleet of 100 autonomous vehicles by 2019 and its open-source Apollo platform will provide the hardware and software support to the fleet.

Why it’s important: Baidu has evolved into a major player in AI and autonomous driving. The company released its autonomous driving platform Apollo last July and started testing Apollo-powered vehicles on road in late 2017. Baidu has obtained permits to test its autonomous vehicle on roads in Beijing, Fujian, and Chongqing. In July, Baidu announced that it has produced 100 of the 14-passenger autonomous buses and that it is planning to take the vehicles to overseas markets.