Self-driving taxis hit roads in Wuhan

Chinese carmaker Dongfeng Motor Corporation said Saturday it has started to offer free test rides in its self-driving taxis in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province.

More than 40 autonomous vehicles, named RoboTaxi, have been put on the roads in the city’s economic and technological development zone. The trial service involves around 20 specific parking spots and more than 10 routes, according to the company’s technical center.

Converted from Dongfeng’s pure electric vehicles, each RoboTaxi has the Beidou Navigation and Positioning System installed and an environmental perception system. The latter includes high-definition cameras, lidar, and millimeter-wave radar.

The onboard supercomputer, powered by the latest 5G technologies, is expected to accurately and swiftly identify various traffic scenarios. It allows for the smooth operation of the taxis, said Bian Ning, the self-driving project leader of Dongfeng Technical Center.

Considering regulatory requirements, safety supervisors are needed for these driverless taxis. However, the safety supervisor would not take over the driving unless there is an emergency, according to Bian.

Dongfeng Motor Corporation plans to roll out more than 200 driverless taxis in Wuhan in the following two to three years.