Shanghai is setting up China’s first robotaxi business operations demo zone in partnership with AutoX, a Hong Kong-based self-driving startup, to pilot the real-world use case of the country’s driverless future, per Chinese tech media 36kr.
AutoX, was founded in 2016 in Silicon Valley by Xiao Jianxiong, a former Princeton University assistant professor.
The partnership will see AutoX roll out 100 robotaxis in the demo zone, which is located in the Jiading district of Shanghai, by early 2020. Residents who live in the district will be able to ride with the driverless taxis to get around.
In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Xiao once said his company cannot afford to burn through all that cash and build an entire self-driving fleet like Waymo and instead it focuses on business-to-business solutions, meaning its target customers are established automakers.
In addition to the Shanghai pilot, AutoX also in July announced a partnership with Swedish electric vehicle maker NEVS to integrate its autonomous driving technologies into the latter’s future models and to roll out a robotaxi fleet in Europe by the end of 2020, KrASIA reported in July.
In June, AutoX became one of only four companies to receive a robotaxi license from California, according to Nikkei Asian Review. Additionally, the startup is also testing its cars in the crowded central business district in Shenzhen.
The company said on its website that “AutoX is introducing the first robotaxi service in California” and has asked people “live in the 95054 and 95314 areas of north San Jose/Santa Clara” to apply for its early rider program. The rides will be free in exchange for feedback, thoughts and experience.
36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company