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China tech

China's first self-driving taxis start trials in Guangzhou

Three GAC vehicles to shuttle between university and station

China's first self-driving taxis developed by a Guangzhou major public transport company drives on a road during a trial operation.   ¬© AP

GUANGZHOU -- China's first autonomous taxis hit the road here last week, providing rides to passengers who have reserved online with a starting fare of about $1.70.

In the test runs conducted by Guangzhou Public Transportation Group and state-backed Guangzhou Automobile Group, three taxis will shuttle between the main entrance of the Guangzhou University and a nearby subway station from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Equipped with radars and cameras, the electric vehicles developed by a GAC unit monitor their surroundings via 360-degree images. One or two supervisors ride along with passengers to ensure safety. WeRide.ai, a leading autonomous driving company, provides technical support.

The partners hope to eventually expand the area and the duration of the test runs to cover the entire city.

A similar experiment was conducted in Japan in August and September by taxi operator Hinomaru Kotsu and robot developer ZMP.

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