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Driverless cars are certainly some way off being widely available, but in the meantime, they’re already being tested in China and being hailed as the future of urban mobility.
According to autonomous car testing website Google Maps, robotaxis have made a debut on multiple routes in two Chinese cities, Changsha and Chongqing.
Each company involved has their own unique approach. BeiDou, a Chinese startup, are semi-autonomous cars, while China Cybernetics specialise in fully driverless vehicles. The first issue is that not all passenger cars are compatible with autonomous tech. Most cars in China right now only have remote-controlled backup drivers — although that will eventually change.
Aside from that, the vehicles appear to be a good start. The cars use laser scanners, remote-controlled cameras and tablets to navigate their route, rather than relying on those driverless aspects.
Up to now, our experiences with driverless cars have mostly been with autonomous vehicles — like the Nissan Leaf that won our Smart Car Awards earlier this year. So, it will be interesting to see how everyday robotaxis fare.