This Country Supports Robo-Taxis, Taxi Drivers Fear They’ll Lose Their Jobs

Luc Williams

As advanced driver assistance systems become more common in China, Beijing is looking to regulate the movement of autonomous vehicles in the city. Draft guidelines issued by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economics and Information Technology predict that Autonomous vehicles should have drivers or safety officers on board or have the ability to remotely capturewhen robotics are in operation. However, any traffic violations should be dealt with based on local laws and regulations, Bloomberg reported.

China’s years-long effort to develop robot taxis is starting to gain traction with consumers but is causing concern among taxi drivers and local communities. Pilot fleets of robot taxis in other Chinese cities have already faced fierce opposition, Bloomberg notes.

Opposition from taxi drivers and the local community

In Wuhan, where hundreds of self-driving cars powered by Baidu Inc.’s Apollo platform have raised concerns among taxi drivers who fear losing their jobs to growing competition from robots. Robo-cars are generally cheaper than taxis.

As CNBC reports, fully autonomous vehicles began operating in select districts of Wuhan in March. The robo-taxi is available 24/7. Wuhan is the largest operating region for Baidu’s Apollo Goone of the largest robotaxi operators in China. The company has over 500 robotaxi operating in the city and plans to increase this number to 1,000 by the end of the year..

While customers using robot services may be satisfied, the local community has doubts about autonomous vehicles. There have been complaints from local residents about traffic jams caused by robo-taxis, and a self-driving vehicle was recently involved in an accident that police are investigating.

Tesla to present its robot taxi

Beijing’s move comes at a time when Tesla is preparing to unveil its own robot taxi. The presentation of the new vehicle is to take place next month, on August 8. The fully autonomous vehicle was first presented to investors in 2019.

In late April, Telsa’s CEO, Elon Muskmade an unannounced trip to China where he secured preliminary approval from government officials to deploy an advanced driver-assistance system in the world’s largest automotive market.

However, it is unclear whether Tesla’s automated cars would be recognized as “qualified operators” by Beijing under the new rules.

Despite what some drivers may think, Tesla does not yet offer features that can be safely used without keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel.The company had to recall millions of cars and faced many lawsuits in the USA related to accidentswhich involved its driver assistance system, sold separately, which caused a continuous decline in revenue.


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