Announced a company (AutoX) autonomous vehicle emerging from the public launch of the autonomous taxi service called RoboTaxi in Shanghai today.
AutoX faces competition from Didi, China’s largest platform for ride-hailing services, which launched its automated taxi pilot program in Shanghai at the end of June.
The RoboTaxis service from AutoX is available for the first time in the Jiading area, with a fleet of 100 vehicles, and the company has plans to build a robotaxi service in Europe.
The trips can be booked through AutoNavi, the map and tour booking app owned by Alibaba, an investor in the startup.
AutoX, which is headquartered in Shenzhen, raised about $ 100 million last year from backers, including Dongfeng Motor, one of the largest auto manufacturers in China, Alibaba Group, and the Chinese Plug and Play Fund.
RoboTaxis competes with the experience of Didi’s self-driving taxi, which also operates in Jiading, a major suburban area somewhat close to central Shanghai, but less crowded.
Didi was launched a few weeks after the company announced that it had raised $ 500 million from investors, including SoftBank, for its new, independent leadership branch.
Didi’s ambitious goal is to deploy more than 1 million autonomous vehicles by 2030.
AutoX and Didi compete against the list of independent taxi services from Chinese competitors, such as Pony.ai, Baidu and WeRide.
All competitors have deployed standalone taxi services in different cities, while others, such as Momenta, are focusing on building self-driving taxi programs for partners, which could enable the launch of more automated taxi fleets.
Momenta’s progress is partly due to state support, because the Chinese government has established several major funds for industries, including autonomous driving, 5G and artificial intelligence, as it tries to offset the economic impact of the Coronavirus.
AutoX has a fleet of automated taxis in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen, giving it experience with independent transportation in a densely populated urban area.
AutoX is currently the third company, and the only one focused on China, to have a permit for an autonomous vehicle in California, along with Waymo and Nuro.