China’s self-driving WeRide partners taxi cos to form robot-taxi JV
Aug 13, 2019 (China Knowledge) - China's smart mobility company WeRide and the largest taxi company in south China Baiyun Taxi Group have announced to establish a joint venture WeRide RoboTaxi. The new JV will launch an autonomous cab service supported by e-hailing.
WeRide, established in 2017, is headquartered in Guangzhou and maintains R&D and operation centers in Beijing, Anqing, and Silicon Valley in the U.S. The company creates leading Level 4 (L4) autonomous driving technologies. In March, WeRide launched the Nissan LEAF2 which is the start-up's prototype L4 autonomous driving car. L4 is considered to be fully autonomous driving, although a human driver can still request control, and the car still has a cockpit.
More players have entered the autonomous vehicle market in China as the country sets a blueprint for the sector. By 2020, smart vehicles are expected to make up for half of all new cars sold domestically. By 2025, China wants to build a fully-integrated ecosystem around smart vehicles, and to have automated cars account for 15% of total sales.
WeRide is confronted with severe competition from the company's rivals in the country. In April, China's internet giant Baidu (BIDU), supported by the central government to be a pack leader in this sector, formed an autopilot joint venture in Hunan province. Last month, Chinese electric car start-up Xpeng rolled out the firm's G3 “2020 edition”. Earlier this month, China's largest ride-hailing platform DiDi Chuxing launched an independent autonomous unit.
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