BEIJING : Large-scale commercial use of self driving technologies, could become a reality sooner than expected, as tech companies are promoting their use in public service sectors.

Last year, Chinese internet search giant Baidu, Inc, launched seven autonomous urban maintenance vehicles in partnership with Beijing Environmental Equipment Co, a subsidiary of Beijing Environmental Hygiene Group.

''By leveraging our capabilities in autonomous driving and AI technologies, we can develop comprehensive solutions that will greatly improve the efficiency of cities,'' said Baidu's chairman and chief executive Robin Li. He added the year of 2018 marked the first year of commercialisation for autonomous driving.

Based on Baidu's Apollo autonomous driving system, the seven vehicles are designed to fulfill various  indoor and outdoor  tasks, such as sweeping roads or public areas, and collecting and transporting garbage.

The vehicles will put to work in shopping malls, high-speed rail stations, airports, venues, squares, industrial parks, pedestrian roads and community spaces.

Xue Zhendong, deputy general manger of Beijing Environmental Equipment Co said : ''These autonomous vehicles are powered by various technologies, including computer vision, image recognition, precise positioning and cloud computing, to increase cleaning efficiency.''

The move marks another step by Beijing based Baidu in applying its autonomous driving technologies to solve real-life problems.

The company plants to launch a fleet of 100 robo-taxis in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, on 210 kilometres of city roads.

It will be China's first autonomous taxi fleet managed by Baidu's V2X system, which integrates smart vehicles and intelligent road infrastructure for the safe deployment of cars.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on ''Autonomous Vehicles'' continues. The World Students Society thanks China Daily/ANN.


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