Collaborating Authors

Cruise can now give passengers rides in driverless cars in California – TechCrunch


Cruise, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of GM that also has backing from SoftBank Vision Fund, Microsoft and Honda, has secured a permit that will allow the company to shuttle passengers in its test vehicles without a human safety operator behind the wheel. The permit, issued by the California Public Utilities Commission as part of its driverless pilot program, is one of several regulatory requirements autonomous vehicle companies must meet before they can deploy commercially. This permit is important -- and Cruise is the first to land this particular one -- but it does not allow the company to charge passengers for any rides in test AVs. "In order to launch a commercial service for passengers here in the state of California, you need both the California DMV and the California PUC to issue deployment permits. Today we are honored to have been the first to receive a driverless autonomous service permit to test transporting passengers from the California PUC," Prashanthi Raman, Cruise's director of Government Affairs said in an emailed statement to TechCrunch.

Motoring: China's WeRide to launch robotaxis on GAC's Ontime ride-hailing app


WeRide, a China-based autonomous driving startup, said on Thursday it plans to make its robotaxis available for booking by the public on Guangzhou Automobile Group's (601238.SS) Ontime ride-hailing app by next year. Backed by Nissan Motor (7201.T), WeRide said in a statement it plans to offer test rides for the public at the Guangzhou Auto Show, which begins in the southern Chinese city on Friday. It added that its robotaxi has been integrated into the ontime platform and they were conducting testing. Automakers and technology firms are investing billions of dollars in autonomous driving, aiming to take an early lead in what many consider the future of mobility. On Tuesday, Chinese autonomous vehicle start-up AutoX, which is backed by Alibaba Group (9988.HK) said it had expanded its robotaxi zone in China's southern city of Shenzhen to become the country's largest fully driverless robotaxi zone, at 65 square miles (168 square km).

Beijing Makes Self-Driving Vehicles A Priority


The robotaxi service is under trial run for citizens in Changsha, and passengers can hail self-driving robotaxis through mobile app. AutoX, a Chinese autonomous vehicle startup, has announced the launch of a fleet of 100 self-driving RoboTaxis in Shanghai's Jiading district, where it will be competing with Didi, which began operating there at the end of June. Other companies, such as, Baidu or WeRide are already running self-driving taxi fleets in other Chinese cities, many of which can be booked through mapping and mobility apps such as AutoNavi or LetzGo. AutoX runs another fleet in the centric district of Nanshan in Shenzen, where it is based, and now has a license to road test in California, and has long announced its intention to launch its services in Europe through a partnership with NEVS, the company that acquired Saab's assets.

Chinese robotaxi unicorn WeRide bags over $600M in 5 months – TechCrunch


It's hard to keep up with the fundraising spree in China's autonomous driving industry these days. Guangzhou- and California-based robotaxi company WeRide, which counts Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance as one of its strategic investors, has raised over $600 million in just under five months from its Series B and C financing rounds. The four-year-old upstart said in May that its valuation leaped to $3.3 billion in its Series C fundraising. WeRide has kept details of the backing to itself until today when it disclosed the investment was a lofty sum of $310 million from Alliance Ventures, a strategic venture capital fund operated by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, China Structural Reform Fund, a Chinese state-owned private equity fund, and Pro Capital, which manages China's CDB Equipment Manufacturing Funds. It's unclear how much WeRide has raised since its inception as some of its investments were undisclosed.

Self-driving robotaxis are taking off in China


Hong Kong (CNN Business)The world has been inching toward fully autonomous cars for years. In China, one company just got even closer to making it a reality. On Thursday, AutoX, an Alibaba (BABA)-backed startup, announced it had rolled out fully driverless robotaxis on public roads in Shenzhen. The company said it had become the first player in China to do so, notching an important industry milestone. Previously, companies operating autonomous shuttles on public roads in the country were constrained by strict caveats, which required them to have a safety driver inside.