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Baidu Leads Years-Long Race for First Driverless Taxis in China

  • Baidu nabs first-of-its kind robotaxi license in China
  • It eyes a fully driverless ride-hailing service in 2023
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WATCH: Baidu Intelligence Driving Group Vice President Wei Dong  predicts full autonomous driving services could emerge as soon as next year.Source: Bloomberg

Baidu Inc.’s ride-hailing service will deploy cars without humans behind the wheel on Chinese roads for the first time, a symbolic victory in a years-long quest to carve out businesses beyond internet advertising. 

Baidu, the search giant now investing heavily to commercialize artificial intelligence technology and autonomous driving, is one of two companies to secure the country’s first permits to operate a fleet of self-driving robotaxis without someone in the driver’s seat. The approval covers just part of Beijing for now, but marks a relaxation of Chinese rules.