Waymo Turns On Cruise, Chinese Companies Expanding RoboTaxi Service Area


As promised, Waymo announced today that it will expand its services from the suburbs of Phoenix to downtown areas and will be accepting applicants for its Early Rider program. Last March, they San Francisco service launch After testing for a long time. GM’s self-driving project ‘Cruise’ Expanding service area in San Francisco Last week we covered much more areas of the city only at night and not downtown. Applications for permission to charge the cruise’s rides are currently in progress and will be approved by June.

But in China, the action is much faster. To impress us, AutoX this week released a drone video of a warehouse providing more than 1,000 robotic taxi services to the Shenzhen area, including a service that does not involve human occupancy on about a quarter of an area of ​​1,000 square kilometers. .

WeRide has released its own video of a side project making a robot vacuum cleaner, but it’s not the only one or two for pilots you’d expect from a well-capitalized American company. In the Chinese “large” style, they built an entire fleet.

Meanwhile, Baidu

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And Pony.AI was licensed at the end of April. Running driverless taxis in Beijing Pony has been licensed for further testing in Guangzhou.

Back in the US, MobilEye (a unit of Intel

INTC
We’ll do our IPO again soon) started testing in Miami.

All of this — turned on. These are still pilot projects, but we’re starting to see the first glimpses of the all “land rush” in the 2020s. Players will start claiming territory and working to create a real working business. We are not there yet. None of these projects come close to making money, but they’re charging money to work out the details of what’s going to happen and holding a stake in the foundation of the place of operation.

You can see competition in cities such as San Francisco, Shenzhen, and Beijing, which are home to these companies, but most of these land rushes are less competitive as players move to occupy virgin territories rather than face their rivals head-to-head. . Deploying robotaxi vehicles is capital intensive, and although these are some of the best capitalized companies, they are also large.

Although the company mostly starts in snow-free areas, it will soon feel the call of New York City, the world’s largest taxi market. Their goal isn’t simply to replace taxis and TNCs with better or cheaper alternatives, but rather a good place to start. If you can be successful anywhere, you can flip song lyrics there. The team will find not only cities where they can do good business, but also cities where they can move to a car replacement business with real money.

In Chandler, Waymo has created a shuttle service between the two service areas, allowing car replacements for Chandler residents who mostly want to travel to the airport but mostly to downtown and their area. Certain other major attractions. Phoenix is ​​such a big city that it’s hard to actually get a replacement car. This is because car replacement must have a service area that covers the majority of the customer’s vehicle journey. Much easier in cities where there are many people who don’t already own cars. All you have to do is provide a great robotaxi service to push more people above the threshold.

sweeper

Street sweepers are interesting because they are one of the side markets that can be made commercially pretty quickly. Some of the initial commercial deployments were in places such as warehouse yards and mines, or in India with delivery robots. This has solved a direct business problem and you can take the simple approach of stopping if something goes wrong. Street cleaning should be done regularly, but vehicles are not driving in traffic jams. They can intentionally go much slower, stop when needed, and slowly circle around obstacles. Being able to run these vehicles 24/7 means you can save even more on attracting drivers and everyone appreciates clean streets. Vehicles today are probably expensive (drivers aren’t expensive in China), but this is something that can be sold in almost any city, especially where it’s expensive for drivers.

The vehicle is quite large and does not yet take advantage of the ability to create a very versatile vehicle shape when the driver is not involved. It will definitely come in the future.

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