Whilst the safety driver watches from the passenger seat, the steering wheel twists one more turn and the car comes to a gentle stop.
The vehicle in question is some of 100 sensor-equipped robotaxis owned by start-up DeepRoute.ai that are currently patrolling Shenzhen, China’s southern tech metropolis, delivering 50,000 experimental tours to passengers in the previous year.
Despite the fact that the United States is thought to have started evaluating autonomous vehicle (AV) technology first, the industry in Shenzhen seems to be shifting gears, with trial robotaxis quickly becoming a regular sight.
The Apollo division of Baidu Inc., Pony, Weride, Auto X, and Deeproute had all begun testing their ability to navigate the challenging environment of the city, which is filled with regular jaywalkers and omnipresent e-scooters.
China’s most lucid AV legislation has now been implemented in Shenzhen, a population of 18 million people. Starting on Monday, registered AVs will be permitted to run across much of the city sans a driver in the driver’s seat, although a driver must still be in the car.
Robotaxis have been permitted to operate in Chinese cities on a limited basis with the approval of local authorities up until now, but Shenzhen’s regulations are the first to establish a framework for accountability in the case of an accident.
In the event of an accident involving the AV, the driver will be held accountable. The owner of the car will be liable if the vehicle is entirely autonomous. The owner of the vehicle may pursue reimbursement from the manufacturer if a defect results in an accident.
The laws are crucial for mass deployment, according to DeepRoute CEO Maxwell Zhou, who was speaking at the office premises in a tech park close to the Hong Kong border. If you want more automobiles, there will inevitably be accidents.
The United States has so far outpaced other countries in autonomous vehicle trials. California approved public road tests starting in 2014, allowing Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo LLC, Cruise, and Tesla to log vast distances in road testing.
However, China is pushing forward, with Beijing designating AV as a focal point in its most recent five-year plan. By 2025, Shenzhen hopes to see 200 billion yuan in revenue from its smart vehicle business.
President Joe Biden was forewarned by Dan Amann, the Cruise Chief Executive in May of last year that top-down, centrally-directed safety rules in the United States run the risk of leaving the nation’s AV industry behind China.
By the time more comprehensive laws are anticipated in a few years, Deeproute hopes to have a thousand robotaxis with safe drivers operating on Shenzhen’s roadways.
However, before robotaxis are financially viable, according to Zhou, production costs for AVs must decrease in a metropolis with a state-owned large fleet of 22,000 battery-powered taxis from Shenzhen-based BYD, in which a 20-km (12-mile) ride costs approximately 60 yuan ($9).
To reduce costs and collect data, Deeproute as well as other robotaxi businesses are relying on mass production. Deeproute charges carmakers about $3,000 for their driving solutions.
Zhou takes the DJI Technology Co. of Shenzhen as an example because it has become the market leader for commercial drones because to decreased manufacturing costs & integrated supply chains.
According to Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, speaking at the Baidu World conference, we are advancing toward a time when taking a robotaxi will cost half as much as taking a taxi does right now.