Baidu launches 24/7 driverless taxis with priority for women

Ahead of International Women’s Day (IWD), Baidu’s Apollo Go robotaxi venture announced further expansion in its services. In Wuhan, one of the cities where the brand operates, Apollo Go has started to provide driverless taxi services 24 hours a day. As spring is one of the high seasons for tourism in the city, this move provides much-needed convenience.

At the same time, Apollo Go also launched a special deal for women. Between 7 March and 6 April, a woman can have two priority rides per night, between 23:00pm and 6:00am. This is in celebration of IWD on 8 March. The safety of women passengers at night has been an issue for ride-hailing companies, and anecdotal news about assault and harassment often gets great attention from netizens. By providing driverless taxis at night and prioritising female passengers, Baidu can leverage the social need for safe rides for women.

Apollo Go is Baidu’s AI-driven robotaxi fleet. The latest data shows that it has now provided over 5 million rides all over the country. In the city of Wuhan, the service had just expanded its coverage to cross the Yangtze River on 27 February. Baidu’s Apollo L4 auto-drive system has been trialled with over 90 million kilometres of mileage and holds over 5,000 patents. It is currently providing taxi services in over 10 cities in China including recently providing free rides to and from Beijing Daxing International Airport.

Baidu recently published its financial report for 2023 and its AI business has started to make a profit, especially on the B2B front. The Apollo Go driverless taxis can be a profitable B2C application for Baidu. However, as the robotaxi technology is undergoing trial and Baidu does not build the cars themselves, it can remain a B2B service for electric car builders without wider adoption of robotaxis.


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