The dream of full self-driving cars is almost here. While efforts from companies like Tesla are resulting in some dangerous incidents, other companies are seeing more success. For example, Chinese car company Apollo Go has let loose a fleet of self-driving taxis across Beijing.
Reported by TechXplore, so-called “robotaxis” are quickly entering the streets of Chinese cities. As China attempts to move multiple aspects of industry towards automation; automated taxis are just one aspect of this.
Beijing’s self-driving taxis are rolling out
Robot taxis started rolling out in beginning last Thursday. After the Chinese government gave tech companies permission to let the automated cars out in the wild, multiple versions of the same idea started to appear.
At the moment, automated taxi cabs are restricted in how many passengers they can carry. Right now, self-driving taxi cars are only allowed to seat two passengers. Additionally, every taxi must also have a trained driver in the front seat.
The addition of a trained driver is merely a safety precaution just in case something goes wrong. However, it is a hilarious inclusion as companies attempt to sell a future of automated vehicles. Additionally, backup drivers are expected to be part of automated vehicles for quite a few years.
This does kind of defeat the purpose of automated transportation. On the other hand, it is providing jobs to would-be taxi drivers instead of firing them in favour of full automation. More jobs can only be a good thing.
The future of automated transport
With the first-wave of self-driving taxis becoming commonplace in major cities like Beijing, this is the start of the vehicular future. While automated vehicles likely won't fully replace manual cars, they will be more mainstream.
Additionally, countries like Germany are moving other forms of transportation to self-driving machines. For example, Germany is starting to introduce full self-driving trains across major rail networks.