Launched in Beijing on Thursday, the services will allow passengers to call taxis during the day using each company’s respective apps.
For now, each company will be limited to a designated area of 23 square miles, and they will have to retain an operator in the front passenger seat to take over in an emergency. Currently, the programs are offered to riders for free.
The announcement marks a major step forward for self-driving technology in the world’s largest car market.
Baidu is best known for its search engine, but it is also owns the largest autonomous driving fleet in China. It said it would start with 10 vehicles under the program and add 30 more later.
China has become a major testing ground for autonomous vehicles, with a small pool of ambitious companies routinely setting new records on various fronts, such as removing the safety driver, opening their services to the public or driving on public roads, and the number of kilometers they travel. vehicles have been tested.
Baidu had previously been allowed to offer taxi services in autonomous vehicles in several cities, including Beijing, although a human still had to remain in the driver’s seat.