Waymo is widely seen as the leader in self-driving cars, but it’s struggling to officially launch an autonomous taxi service in the US.
In China, a self-driving taxi service launched this week – albeit with plenty of strings attached.
Three self-driving taxis went on the road in Guangzhou this week, accepting online orders from the public with a starting fare of 12 yuan (US$1.73).
The cars were made by startup WeRide.ai (formerly named JingChi.ai) and operated by Guangzhou Public Transportation Group.
And despite claims that the cars are “Level 4” autonomous vehicles – able to run without a human behind the wheel – all the cars have drivers sitting in the front seat, just in case.
Still, that a year-old startup can put self-driving cars on public roads at all speaks to why China may overtake the US in AI one day.