Guangzhou-based autonomous driving company WeRide announced it has won approval to expand its test driving area to roads in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district.
According to a company press release, the Guangzhou city approval marks the first time that autonomous driving cars will be tested in “core urban areas of a first-tier Chinese city.” Besides testing, WeRide will soon provide advanced autonomous driving services to the public, allowing more people in Guangzhou to hop in a robotaxi in the city’s busy urban center.
The first test roads in Haizhu district have a total length of about 11 kilometers. As ‘Class-two test roads,’ self-driving tests with or without safety drivers on the driver’s seat are allowed.
Landmarks in the test area include the Canton Tower, Party Pier, the Canton Fair complex, the Pazhou Hong Kong-Macao Ferry Terminal and several big-name hotels.
This is the first time autonomous driving road tests have been allowed in urban centers in China that include busy landmarks.
WeRide, which has operated in Huangpu district, has logged more than 147,000 trips for over 60,000 passengers during its first year.
In Shenzhen, AutoX also announced that its fully driverless robotaxi pilot program has opened to the public. According to AutoX, the news marks the first time that “the general public will be able to book a completely autonomous RoboTaxi without accompanying safety drivers in China.”
While the news may feel like robotaxis are imminent, the industry still has a ways to go before truly disrupting transportation.
[Cover image via WeRide]