WeRide Reveals China’s First Robo-Taxi Trial Operation Report: 8,396 Rides in the 1st Month

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(February 14th, 2020, Guangzhou, China) A total of 8,396 Robo-Taxi rides were accomplished in the first month of WeRide RoboTaxi’s trial operation in Guangzhou, China in December 2019, according to “WeRide RoboTaxi Trial Operation Report” (the Report) released by the company.

The Report, which is the first of its kind in China, shows that average daily rides were 270.8 with the peak reaching 438 rides on Dec 26th. The Robo-Taxi fleet accumulated 41,140km mileage for the finished rides and provided service for 4,683 users.

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The pilot program was launched by WeRide RoboTaxi, a joint venture founded by WeRide, China's leading L4 autonomous driving mobility company, and its strategic partners which include Baiyun Taxi Group and SCI (Guangzhou) Group, by the end of November last year. The operation covers a territory of 144.65 square kilometers in the Huangpu and Guangzhou Development District in Guangzhou, China. It is China’s first Robo-Taxi service available to the public. People can simply download the app WeRide Go and ride the Robo-Taxies with no application needed.

Li Zhang, COO of WeRide and CEO of WeRide RoboTaxi said: “Robo-Taxi service completely open to the public is unprecedented in China. We have accumulated a huge amount of data and gained first-hand operation experience. This is a very positive start to prepare our next stage development. Such a successful Robo-Taxi operation cannot be accomplished without the close collaboration between WeRide and Baiyun Taxi Group.”

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Operation efficiency close to traditional taxi Customer satisfaction reached 94%

The Report shows that in December 2019, Robo-Taxi in total completed 8,396 trips, which accounted for 62% of the overall demand. Most of the rest 38% orders were canceled due to insufficient fleet capacity, which signals a demand of more Robo-Taxi supply to the market.

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The operation starts from 8:00am to 22:00pm, Monday to Sunday, and the most demanded hours are during the rush hours, 8:00am to 9:00am and 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

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The average daily ride per user for Robo-Taxi is 1.8 and the average mileage per order is 4.9 km. As a contrast, the average mileage per ride is 7.17km for the traditional taxi with human driver at the same period, according to the data from Baiyun Taxi Group.

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WeRide’s Robo-Taxis are running within electronic fence, and no long-distance rides such as going through highway or going to airports are included. Therefore, the statistics could indicate that WeRide’s Robo-Taxi operation efficiency is quite close to the traditional taxi.

Currently the Robo-Taxi service does not support flag-down hailing but offers fixed pick-up and drop-off spots. Users can submit new spots via WeRide Go app or the company’s official WeChat account. Locations within the operating areas and violating no traffic rules will be added.

So far, the pick-up and drop-off spots have increased from the original 30 to over 100, covering all the popular sites in the operating area, such as shopping malls, office buildings, large residential community, metro and bus stations.

The Report shows that the hottest spots in December are Administrative Service Center, Baifenghui Square and Wanda Plaza in Huangpu District.

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The increasing spots have led to a soaring number of Robo-Taxi operation routes. From the original 1,000 routes to nearly 10,000 now, the Robo-Taxi fleet is running through all kinds of complicated traffic scenarios on urban public roads.

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The Report also shows that 94% of the passengers rated the service 5-star, which is the best of the rating. For the 5-star ratings, 30% came with the feedbacks of smooth driving, clean & tidy cabin and friendly safety drivers.

For the rating below 5-star, most of the comments are focused on unstable driving and brakes, inappropriate route planning, as well as long waiting time.

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Stability is the top concern in 5-star ratings and the ratings below, due to passengers' different expectations and understanding towards Robo-Taxi and the technology. WeRide has also taken stability as one of the key metrics to evaluate our autonomous driving technology.

Robo-Taxi operation calls for safety, efficiency and experience

Under its product-oriented technology strategy, WeRide has been developing Robo-Taxi as a product. The company has launched “WeRide ONE”, an all-in-one algorithm solution which can apply to all weather and traffic conditions in urban operations. By the end of December 2019, WeRide has accumulated over 1,150,000 kilometers autonomous driving mileage. These efforts have laid a solid foundation for the Robo-Taxi operation.

Safety is WeRide’s top priority. Robo-Taxis have secured zero safety issues. Both safety redundancy and safety drivers are well implemented throughout the operation. WeRide also has been optimizing the technical details that contribute to customer experience and operation efficiency since the beginning.

For example, the pick-up and drop-off spots are usually located in narrow scenes. WeRide has strengthened Robo-Taxi’s planning ability to drive smarter and more smoothly around the spots and choose the most convenient locations for passengers to get on and off.

WeRide uses a comprehensive fleet management system to monitor order status and Robo-Taxis in real time. Based on the demands, the system would organize cruising routes where more passengers are hailing Robo-Taxis. This could significantly reduce waiting time for riders and guarantee a more efficient vehicle allocation.

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The trial operation also contributes a huge amount of data to evolve R&D development. Every day, each Robo-Taxi contributes 1.5TB of data to the autonomous driving database that supports simulation and model training.

Driving to the driverless future

WeRide RoboTaxi is a successful application of WeRide’s triangle business model, realizing a strategic and seamless collaboration among AI technology provider, car manufacturer and mobility platform.

Jianhong Wang, Deputy General Manger from Baiyun Taxi Group said: “WeRide RoboTaxi’s operation efficiency has been very close to traditional taxi in its first month trial run, showcasing a perfect combination of Baiyun Taxi Group’s exceptional operation experience and WeRide’s advanced autonomous driving technology. We’re very confident in the tremendous potential from the future scale operation.”

“WeRide’s publication of the Report is to share our experience of running Robo-Taxi service in Chinese Tier-1 city.” Tony Han, Founder and CEO of WeRide expressed his ambition: “In the year of 2020, WeRide RoboTaxi will see more scale operation. Full self-driving still has a long way to go. WeRide, like always, continues refining our technology and driving the agenda of Robo-Taxi operation in more Chinese cities.”

Tony emphasized that scale operation for Robo-Taxis doesn’t just indicate the size of the fleet. It is more important to have the confidence in the technology to remove safety drivers. “Removing safety drivers in designated areas and achieve true driverless will also be the focus of WeRide’s work in 2020.” Tony said.

About WeRide

WeRide is a smart mobility company in China that creates leading L4 autonomous driving technologies. We have committed ourselves to new mobility services that will be accessible and beneficial to everyone. WeRide is China’s first L4 autonomous driving technology start-up company to obtain strategic investment from a top-tier global automaker Alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. We employ a highly skilled technology team of more than 200 employees globally, 70% of whom are R&D engineers. Established in 2017, WeRide is headquartered in Guangzhou, China, and maintains R&D and operation centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Anqing, as well as Silicon Valley in the USA. For more information, please visit www.weride.ai.

About WeRide RoboTaxi

WeRide RoboTaxi is a smart mobility company, aiming at providing future robo-taxi services in China (new mobility services enabled by autonomous driving technology). It is a joint venture co-founded by WeRide, a leading L4 autonomous driving mobility company, Baiyun Taxi Group, the largest taxi company in South China under Guangzhou Public Transport Group, and SCI (Guangzhou) Group. WeRide RoboTaxi launched a Robo-Taxi pilot program in Guangzhou, China by the end of November, 2019. The operation covers 144.65 square kilometers in the Huangpu and Guangzhou Development District in Guangzhou, providing the locals with Robo-Taxi services on their daily commute. It is China’s first Robo-Taxi service available to the public.

About Guangzhou Baiyun Taxi Group

Guangzhou Baiyun Taxi Group, established in 1956, is the largest taxi company in South China. It’s part of Guangzhou Public Transport Group. Baiyun Taxi currently has more than 10,000 cruising taxis and car-hailing taxis, with about 14,000 employees, 19 subordinate enterprises, 10 holding subsidiaries and one equity company. Its business covers all districts of Guangzhou with reach to Foshan, Hong Kong and more cities in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Baiyun Taxi pursues the aim of "serving the public and contributing to the society", serving 520,000 passengers a day on average. It plays a significant role in supporting all sizes of transportation hubs such as Guangzhou South Railway Station and Baiyun Airport. All along, Baiyun Taxi has been committed to reform and innovation, taking the lead in initiating services like stop-and-go, taxi charging, telephone appointment, 24-hour service and more nationwide. In November 2018, the company joined hands with WeRide to launch the first L4 autonomous driving taxi in China, pioneering the application of AD technology in the country.