Driverless taxis take to Zhuhai roads

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption An electric vehicle being tested in the city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province.

Baidu’s vision of an autonomous vehicles without human drivers is taking shape as the Chinese tech firm announces trials in the southern city of Zhuhai.

In China, millions of miles of roads need to be covered before fully autonomous cars are allowed to take to the streets.

In Zhuhai, an autonomous taxi service will operate around 300 kilometres from the city centre.

But the artificial intelligence systems used by the robot taxis still need to catch up with people.

Developing these systems, Baidu says, takes more time than building a driverless car.

There is no set date for when fully autonomous robots are allowed to take to the streets. But the firm’s goal is to make them a “rare exception” by 2025.

After testing its driverless vehicles in China, Uber launched a similar service in Phoenix, Arizona, last year.

US carmaker Ford recently set up a company called Argo AI to develop driverless technologies.

Over the next few years, autonomous cars will replace road transport in the “fly-by-wire” cars of Star Trek.

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