Nissan-backed Chinese self-driving startup WeRide has so far provided a total of 147,128 autonomous rides for more than 60,000 passengers under a robotaxi pilot program it launched in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou a year ago, according to a statement emailed to Caixin.
More than 50% of the passengers surveyed used the robotaxi service for regular commutes, with 28% booking at least one ride a week and 15% ordering no fewer than three rides a week, WeRide said in the statement.
In November last year, WeRide opened up its robotaxi service to the general public free of charge in Guangzhou, allowing users to hail autonomous rides through either its WeRide Go app or an Alibaba-backed navigation app Amap in a designated area. Passengers are required to get on and off their robotaxis at designated points.
WeRide’s founder and CEO Han Xu said that the satisfactory operational data of its robotaxi service marks a step closer to the “commercialization of autonomous driving technology”, which is still undergoing road tests aimed at strengthening vehicles’ ability to tackle traffic problems by themselves without human intervention.
In China, WeRide rivals, including search giant Baidu, ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, Toyota-backed Pony.ai and Alibaba-backed AutoX, have all started trialing their own robotaxi services, although human drivers are present in case of emergencies.
Earlier this year, Han said that WeRide “will pursue fully driverless technology in the next two to three years.”
Contact reporter Ding Yi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Related: WeRide to Test Fully Autonomous Vehicles in Guangzhou