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November 28, 2022: Chinese tech company Baidu stated that its robotaxi business in large cities is nearer to gaining similar traction with the people as traditional ride-hailing services.
In the third quarter, every one of Baidu’s self-driving taxis finished an average of over 15 rides a day in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, CEO Robin Li stated, according to a FactSet transcript of the revenue call.
“According to our knowledge, this number is close to the average daily rides for traditional ride services,” Li said. He needed to share the number of cars in each local fleet.
According to the latest available municipal data, for comparison, trips for every vehicle on riding apps in New York City ranged from about 12 a day in September.
In Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Baidu’s robotaxis branded Apollo Go can only operate in certain suburban areas.
The company should have said whether it could charge prices for its robotaxi rides in Guangzhou or Shanghai.
Nearly 12 months ago, Baidu profited from Beijing city’s approval to start to charge fares for robotaxi travels in the district of Yizhuang, nearly half an hour’s drive from the centre of the capital city.
Those rides still need a human staff member to get in the car.
Therefore, this week Baidu said it was getting approval from local Beijing authorities are testing ten robotaxis, excluding any human staff in the front seat.
Pony.ai, a start-up operating a robotaxi business, said it obtained similar approval.
Both the firms’ robotaxi rides in Beijing’s Yizhuang area remain heavily subsidized.
The company stated that Baidu has robotaxi investigations in several cities in China and can charge fares of at least seven.
Total robotaxi goes in the third quarter increased by over 300% from a year ago to exceeding 474,000 rides, the company stated on Tuesday.
When questioned in the revenue call about when Apollo Go would break even, the company added that it thinks the robotaxi would eventually be profitable and cheaper than the present ride-hailing services. The impact of Baidu’s overall earnings and loss and cash flow can be managed.
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