What You Need to Know About Baidu’s Apollo Go Robotaxi in Beijing

Apollo Auto
Oct 27, 2020 · 4 min read
Image for post
Image for post

Two weeks ago, we were thrilled to announce a huge step forward in the large-scale application of autonomous driving: On October 10, 2020, Baidu fully opened its Apollo Go Robotaxi service to the public in Beijing, free of charge and with no reservation necessary. After two weeks of widespread use throughout Beijing, here’s what you need to know:

How can I experience Baidu’s Apollo Go Robotaxi service in Beijing?

You can now hail a robotaxi in Beijing with one tap in Baidu Maps, Apollo GO (a standalone ride-hailing mobile app), or the Apollo GO mini program on Baidu App.

In compliance with local regulations, our robotaxi can accommodate up to two passengers at a time between the ages of 18 and 60, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Image for post
Image for post
Baidu Maps

What’s been the response from the public?

We’ve seen huge traction among local residents for the service in Beijing, who are lining up to experience our robotaxis. We’ve received more than 2,600 ride requests in a single day.

How large is the service area?

Our Apollo Go Robotaxi service operates within a 700-kilometer area (currently the largest autonomous driving test area and longest road network in China). While we currently have 14 pick-up and drop-off stations approved and opened to the public, we’ll expand to nearly 100 pick-up and drop-off stations covering residential and business areas in Yizhuang, Haidian, and Shunyi districts in the near future.

How many vehicles are part of the fleet?

Our Apollo Go Robotaxi service currently consists of 40 Lincoln MKZs. The Lincoln MKZ is our 3rd-generation autonomous vehicle model approved for self-driving testing licenses in Beijing. Under the city’s “one-vehicle, one-license” policy, we continue to use Lincoln MKZs for the Beijing trial operation.

However, we’re currently in discussion with local authorities to bring our newest-generation pre-installed FAW Hongqi EVs to the fleet in Beijing, which overcome the Lincoln MKZ’s capacity limitations in terms of software-hardware integration.

Image for post
Image for post
FAW Hongqi EV

Are there any other cities where Apollo Go Robotaxis are fully available?

In addition to Beijing, our Apollo Go Robotaxi service is open to the public in , Hunan province, and , Hebei province.

Why is the safety driver still sitting behind the wheel?

Beijing hasn’t approved fully driverless testing without human safety drivers on public roads.

When will Baidu Apollo start driverless trials?

On September 15, 2020, Baidu Apollo was given licenses for driverless driving road tests in Changsha, Hunan province. We are now testing robotaxis equipped with 5G-enabled teleoperation, or 5G Remote Driving, in the city.

In September, we demonstrated fully automated driving in Beijing’s Shougang Park and showcased 5G-enabled teleoperation, namely 5G Remote Driving, which can engage instantaneously to provide immediate assistance from remote human operators when the user or the system switches to parallel driving mode.

Image for post
Image for post
5G Remote Driving

What’s significant about the Apollo Go Robotaxi service launch in Beijing?

The launch of our Apollo Go Robotaxi service in Beijing, the capital of China, marks a new stage of autonomous driving development in the country. Beijing is the first city in China to regulate and open autonomous driving road test zones. The city has comprehensive infrastructure and policies to foster high-speed development of the industry. In 2019, Beijing ranked first in China for numbers of test licenses and vehicle categories, as well as the diversity of test scenarios. In addition, Beijing has issued the most stringent safety requirements for manned autonomous driving tests in China to ensure the safety and reliability of the industry.

What’s the pre-requisite for operating robotaxis in Beijing?

All autonomous vehicles must be approved for self-driving licenses prior to road tests. In July 2019, we received T4 licenses, the highest-level self-driving license ever issued in China, which permits road testing under complex urban road conditions. Baidu is currently the only company that owns T4 licenses.

Last December, we secured licenses to test autonomous vehicles carrying passengers on designated roads in Beijing. After eight months of small-scale manned testing, the Apollo Go Robotaxi fleet completed road tests totaling 519,000 kilometers in Beijing and obtained permission to enter the next stage: opening up to the general public.

Apollo Auto

Baidu’s open source autonomous driving platform (githun.com/

Apollo Auto

Written by

Apollo Platform is Baidu’s open source autonomous driving platform. Build your autonomous driving projects with Apollo: github.com/apolloauto.

Apollo Auto

Baidu’s open source autonomous driving platform (githun.com/apolloauto).

Apollo Auto

Written by

Apollo Platform is Baidu’s open source autonomous driving platform. Build your autonomous driving projects with Apollo: github.com/apolloauto.

Apollo Auto

Baidu’s open source autonomous driving platform (githun.com/apolloauto).

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface.

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox.

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store