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China tech

Baidu's self-driving $5 taxis hit Beijing park in Olympic warm-up

China's first paid autonomous vehicles to set out on eight-stop route

The Apollo Go taxi service will link eight stops covering 2.7 sq. kilometers in the Beijing's Shougang Park. (Photo courtesy of Baidu)

BEIJING -- Baidu, the Chinese tech company known for its search engine, has passed its driver's test and will debut its fleet of autonomous taxis to the public this weekend in what will be China's first paid self-driving service with no one behind the wheel.

The robotaxis will be remotely monitored and support will be available in case of emergency. While there is no driver, the vehicles will be manned with a service member in the passenger seat. Passengers will verify their identification and health conditions on a smartphone app before getting in, which will not start moving until passengers fasten their seat belts.

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