BEIJING — Chinese tech company Baidu announced Friday it can now operate robotaxis in a part of the capital city of Beijing with no human staff or driver inside.
The government approval initially covers 10 vehicles in the Beijing suburb of Yizhuang, which is home to many corporations such as JD.com.
The suburb is the primary site of Baidu's robotaxi public road testing and operation in Beijing city. In November 2021, local authorities allowed Baidu and rival robotaxi operator Pony.ai to charge fares for rides.
Since the third quarter, Baidu claimed that in major Chinese cities, its self-driving taxis complete an average of more than 15 rides per vehicle per day — on par with traditional ride-hailing services.
Baidu said in August it received approval to operate a handful of driverless and staff-less robotaxis in suburbs of major Chinese cities like Wuhan and Chongqing.
In the U.S., laws for testing robotaxis and charging riders also vary by city and state. Alphabet 's Waymo and General Motors ' subsidiary Cruise have operated public robotaxi services in the U.S. with no human staff inside.