The US unit of Baidu has been approved by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test driverless vehicles on public roads in the state. The company, which already had a permit to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers since 2016, will now also be able to test three autonomous vehicles without a driver on designated streets within Sunnyvale, in the Santa Clara County, the DMV said on its website.
The US authority further said that these vehicles are designed to operate on roads with posted speed limits not exceeding 45 miles per hour, and that tests cannot occur during heavy rain or fog.
Baidu is the sixth company, following Cruise, Waymo, Nuro, Zoox, and Shenzhen-headquartered AutoX, to receive a license of this kind in California, while 58 companies have an active permit to test autonomous vehicles with safety driver.
“Our California permit is the latest in approvals to test fully driverless vehicles,” said Baidu in a press release on Thursday. The firm was granted permission by Beijing transportation authorities in December and the Changsha government in September.
Also on Thursday, AutoX announced that it has rolled out a completely driverless robotaxi service to the public in the district of Pingshan, Shenzhen, claiming to be the first company to do so in China. It comes on the back of media reports in December that didn’t mention AutoX as one of the companies with a license.
AutoX has not responded to KrASIA‘s question on whether it holds a valid permit from the Shenzhen city government. The authority has not been available for comment either.