Chinese tech giant Baidu had the highest number of driverless vehicles and registered the most kilometers traveled by autonomous vehicles on Beijing's test approved roads in 2019, according to a survey.
The Beijing-based company’s 52 autonomous vehicles traveled 754,000 kilometers during road tests in the Chinese capital last year, accounting for about 85% of the total distances driven by self-driving cars owned by 12 licensed firms including Tencent, Didi and Nio, the survey showed, which was released Monday by the Beijing Innovation Center for Mobility Intelligent (BICMI).
Baidu was also the only company to test self-driving vehicles carrying human passengers on Beijing roads that year, BICMI said.
Guangzhou-based startup Pony.ai came in second on the city’s road-test list, but lagged far behind Baidu with 111,200 kilometers driven by five autonomous vehicles. Japanese automaker Toyota claimed the third spot with four driverless cars covering 11,100 kilometers, according to the survey. Last week, Pony.ai raised $400 million from Toyota to boost the development and commercialization of automated vehicles.
Overall, the 12 companies tested a total of 73 autonomous vehicles on Beijing roads last year, covering 886,600 kilometers, up from 153,600 kilometers eight firms drove in 2018, according to the survey.
The survey did not provide the number of cases in which a human driver had to take control of the car to avoid an accident, namely the level of “disengagement” that California’s counterpart report demands, but said that 86% of “disengagements” were due to human takeovers caused by change of data recorders and test routes or personal reasons while the remaining 14% were attributable to software system failures.
Beijing is among the few Chinese cities that allow eligible companies to conduct road tests of autonomous vehicles. As of the end of last December, the city has allowed 151 roads to be used for autonomous vehicle tests, totaling more than 500 kilometers in length.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (firstname.lastname@example.org)