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On December 4, Baidu Apollo was granted permission by Beijing transportation authorities for five of its vehicles to conduct fully driverless road tests. The announcement makes Baidu the first and only company permitted to conduct driverless tests-—where there is no safety driver in the autonomous driving vehicle—on public streets in Beijing, marking a significant step towards commercialization and resulting from Baidu’s continuous technological innovation.

Obtaining permission for driverless testing in Beijing represents a breakthrough that will accelerate Baidu’s push to commercialize autonomous driving. Since driverless operations are necessary for cost reduction and scalability of autonomous driving, permission for Baidu to conduct driverless tests paves the way for commercialization.

The permits will enable Baidu to gradually reduce human intervention on test vehicles and eventually remove in-car safety drivers from its autonomous vehicle road tests.

The announcement also affirms Baidu’s leading position in autonomous driving technology, with Baidu’s AI driving system now capable of independently operating vehicles in complex urban road conditions. Beijing has the most stringent safety requirements for obtaining driverless testing permission in China.

Published in November 2020, the requirements include obtaining T3 or higher testing ability, completing more than 30,000 kilometers of safe test driving on open roads, and passing an evaluation on a closed track. Baidu has cleared each of these requirements and has also developed the 5G Remote Driving Service to guarantee safety.

All the vehicles under the fully driverless road tests in Beijing are powered by Baidu’s 5G Remote Driving Service, which allows safety drivers to remotely take control of vehicles in the case of emergency.

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