back to article China allows robo taxis – without backup drivers – in parts of two major cities

China has issued two licences for robot taxi operations, according to local tech giant Baidu. In a statement sent to The Register, Baidu claimed its Apollo robot taxis have won the right to operate in parts of the cities of Chongqing and Wuhan. The licences issued apparently do not require the presence of a human driver. …

  1. steviebuk Silver badge

    Shame

    "China is all-in on electric and autonomous vehicles"

    They also burn and mine the most coal anywhere in the world. When they pulled out of "talks" with the US over climate change it was no lose as they were lying all the time they were talking.

    They have no battery tech, everything they have is stolen. What would be really interesting would be grabbing one of the cars and trying to work out who's tech they've stolen to build it.

    As always this is just a "face" exercise for China. You'll get no true data back from it. The cars could end up being useless and you'll never know. They could end up going round running everyone over & not only would the world not be told, the Chinese people themselves would not be told.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: Shame

      They could end up going round running everyone over...

      Mao: "We have a very large territory and a big population. Robot cars could not kill all of us."

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Shame

        Mao "I'll do the killing myself. And get rid of these darn birds".

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Shame

      They also burn and mine the most coal anywhere in the world.

      They also have the largest population by a long why.

      Try it by per capita and the results get REALLY interesting.

      https://www.countryliving.com/uk/news/a37266476/most-polluting-countries-un-report/

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Shame

      What would be really interesting would be grabbing one of the cars and trying to work out who's tech they've stolen to build it.[seeing if the vehicle is remotely controlled]

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alert

    200,000 to 261,367 Annual Road Fatalities in China (2015 WHO)

    Let’s hope it actually works out for them.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    as an aside

    ... why do self driving cars almost always have the same design as a driven car? There is no reason to have the "front cabin" structure it only needs to be more passenger seats with a wedge shaped front end, no windscreen etc.

    As a second aside, does a self driving car in the UK need a door/wing mirror by law?

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: as an aside

      How about a windowless box which can be lowered straight in to the ground in the event of an AI failure?

      1. Garry Perez

        Re: as an aside

        Just ask the passengers to where these on entry

        https://hitchhikers.fandom.com/wiki/Joo_Janta_200_Super-Chromatic_Peril_Sensitive_Sunglasses

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: as an aside

        Today, autonomous Taxis - tomorrow, autonomous Hearses

    2. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: as an aside

      It's probably too expensive to redesign cats for such small numbers.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: as an aside

        They could just remove the steering wheel, pedals and gear selector and make the driver's seat a second regular front passenger seat

        1. Sleep deprived

          Re: as an aside

          So you could end up making eye contact with a passive passenger in the driver's seat, unless they make it obvious it's an autonomous car.

      2. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: as an aside

        "It's probably too expensive to redesign cats for such small numbers"

        I didn't know cats could be taught to drive anyway, but why would they need to be redesigned?

        1. HildyJ Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: as an aside

          Give them opposable thumbs and their human slaves become redundant.

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: as an aside

      "why do self driving cars almost always have the same design as a driven car?"

      I guess because up until now, the possibility of human intervention / driving was required. I guess given the right sensors and feedbacks, it would be possible for a human to do the driving completely remotely without needing any traditional controls (at least in an emergency and at low speed).

      Either way I guess that driverless cars will in fact evolve into a way different layout once the need for traditional controls is gone.

    4. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: as an aside

      I’d imagine it’s cheaper.

      I’d also imagine driving one by a human might need all the usual apparatus.

    5. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: as an aside

      Can only go that way when they are 100% accurate. Until then you might need to take control.

      Besides. We all still like the design. Johnny Cabs.

  4. Lordrobot

    China is far far far ahead...

    Part of what makes China's driverless vehicles successful is the 5G network capacity which is chock full of supercomputers performing positional analysis not reliant on GPS alone and onboard computation, as in the Crash-O-RAMA Tesla trials where the onboard human driver, seemingly asleep at the wheel, allows the vehicles to crash without intervention. GPS fails on streets with trees. "We have to ban Huawei from spying on our missile silos in Montana!"

    Once again we have the BUT BUT BUT the US is going to make batteries. When Obama tried this battery factory freebie stuff, not one battery factory was built and not a single US-made Battery was produced. Billions were given away. But with Joe Biden, he will succeed where Obama had failed. Why? Because Joe Biden is very high tech and knows all about electric vehicles and batteries. AMTRAK is the rock solid model upon which the Great US EV extravaganza will be based. All aboard...

  5. Sleep deprived

    "smart highways" for autonomous cars?

    I think we'll soon realize real-life road situations are too complicated for AI driving, and we need to simplify reality for autonomous cars. After roadside sensors and connected traffic lights, all of us (cars, cyclists and pedestrians) should expect having to wear a transponder to be taken into account by the new masters of the road.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: "smart highways" for autonomous cars?

      As a kid all I ever did was jump on a bus to get to school and home again afterwards everyday. If we returned to the original decent bus service days then everything would be much easier and greener, the only upgrades nice to the old bus services would be to give everyone WiFi access.

      1. Persona Silver badge

        Re: "smart highways" for autonomous cars?

        Decent bus services require high population density and relatively limited directions of travel e.g. to school.

        There are a few busses where I live. Mostly they only have 2 or 3 passengers and they are going to only 4 of the 60 destinations I commonly want. Changing busses a couple of times would be very time consuming. Looking on Google maps a 45 minute car journey I did on Friday would have taken over 2 hours by bus (3 busses actually). The journey back would be no better plus we stopped at 3 shops on the way. It added little distance, but would put the bus journey time up to three hours or four if the timing was bad. I really don't want to spend 5 or 6 hours sitting on or waiting for busses even if they were free.

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