China: Self driving robotaxis are closer to being a reality

China: Self driving robotaxis are closer to being a reality

- AutoX has about 25 autonomous cars carrying passengers in Wuhan and Shenzhen in China

- The firms CEO Jianxiong Xiao said the cars were safe for use by the public adding that it was now the duty of regulators to approve their mass usage

- AutoX has also tested its self-driving cars in the US where it expects to expand its market to if approved for use

- The vehicles navigate using an AI system that has been developed based on among other things drivers' behaviour

- At least 100 special vehicles are on the road every day collecting data to improve the navigation experience of autonomous cars

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AutoX, a Chinese company developing self-driving cars, has announced that it has hit the streets with a fleet of about 25 vehicles and taking passengers for a spin.

The company joins the league of few driverless car developers that have been allowed to operate and test their technology in counties like China and the US.

In China, despite strict regulations from authorities, self-driving cars produced by AutoX are now operating in parts of Wuhan and Shenzhen.

China: Self-driving robotaxis closer to being reality

AutoX CEO Jianxiong Xiao. Photo: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

In Shenzhen, AutoX had conducted tests for about six months and similar tests have also been run in San Jose, California, US, where the company eyes to expand its business presence.

Previously, regulations had demanded that every self-driving car should have a safety driver inside but AutoX has been able to convince regulators that its vehicles are safe even without physical drivers.

China: Self-driving robotaxis closer to being reality

Self-driving vans are used for ride-sharing. They do not need a driver to man them. Photo: Getty Images.
Source: UGC

Fiat Chrysler Pacifica

Fiat Chrysler Pacifica is one of the models developed by AutoX and the company recently released a video showing the autonomous car taking a spin in the streets.

In the clip, the car is seen stopping at zebra cross-sections as expected of any vehicle with a driver inside, safely perform manoeuvres such as overtaking trucks, making u-turns and stopping to let in a passenger and even a dog for a ride.

AI systems

The car uses AI systems to navigate through the streets.

Other driverless cars developed, for instance, the Cruise Origin doesn't have a steering wheel, doest have pedals neither doesn't have a driver's seat.

Currently being used for tax purposes, the Fiat Chrysler Pacifica can carry up to six people.

China: Self-driving robotaxis closer to being reality

Self-driving cars use cameras for navigation. Photo: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

According to AutoX CEO Jianxiong Xiao, who describes strides driverless cars have made as "a dream, autonomous cars still have about five years to go before most countries can allow them to ply the streets.

"It's a dream. After working so hard for so many years, we've finally reached the point that the technology is mature enough, that we feel confident by ourselves, to really remove the safety driver," Xiao was quoted by CNN.

Improving safety

To improve the safety of the driverless cars, Xiao said about 100 vehicles are on various parts of the streets collecting data daily.

Among information being captured is the driving habits of other drivers and passengers which are incorporated in the AI systems with an aim of bettering navigation of the autonomous cars.

In other car news, reported that a young man proudly shared his latest accomplishment online. @reeyah_sa on Twitter recently purchased a new bakkie and could not be more excited. He shared a cropped image of his new ride to the social networking site.

@reeyah_sa shared the image yesterday, 27 December and it has already gained over 6 500 likes on the microblogging app. South Africans have taken to his replies section to congratulate him on his achievement.

Others have offered advice such as adding a tracker to the vehicle to help if anything were to go wrong in future.

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