Beijing has strict requirements for driverless road tests. Vehicles must have T3 or higher testing ability, safely complete more than 30,000 kilometers (18,641 miles) of driving on open roads and pass an evaluation on a closed course. Baidu has achieved all of those conditions. The company says that the driverless permits are a key milestone towards its plan to build a commercial autonomous driving business.
It’s not the first company to take to China’s roads without a safety driver in place, however. Last week, AutoX (which has backing from Alibaba) started testing a fleet of 25 driverless robotaxis in Shenzhen. AutoX is also running the trial without remote operators.