AutoX announced on Thursday that its driverless robotaxis are now available to the public in Shenzhen, one of the largest cities in China, on a trial basis. Individuals need to sign up for the pilot through a registration page, and those selected can take a ride.
“This marks the first time that the general public will be able to book a completely autonomous robotaxi without accompanying safety drivers in China,” said the company, which counts Alibaba among its investors, in a release.
The firm claims it received approval for the Pingshan district in Shenzhen, where it has been conducting tests with its 25 vehicles since mid-last year. In December however, the city’s transportation officials told Chinese outlet Auto Observer that it allocated 144 kilometers of roads in 9 districts for the testing, issuing 7 licenses which didn’t include AutoX.
The administration further said that Shenzhen didn’t allow any robotaxi service to conduct trial operations in the testing area and has never approved fully driverless vehicles to run on the road.
AutoX did not immediately respond to KrASIA‘s question on what kind of approval it received from the Pingshan district government.
In China, a slew of companies, including Baidu and WeRide have been operating robotaxi services since late 2019 in cities including Beijing and Guangzhou, all with human safety operators. WeRide is also testing a fully driverless robotaxi fleet but has not made it available to the public yet.