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It will take ages for self-driving cars to become a reality, but it won’t be forever


The spotlight of the hype has lit up many areas since autonomous driving has had its own time in the sun, but advances in technology are moving fast. Clearly, the dream of not having to drive around yourself is not dead, given the rising mileage driven by bots, greater commercialization, and other headlines.

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1683683634 433 We are close to peak pessimism around fintechThere is much good news to be found. Today, the Chinese technology giant Baidu revealed an interesting set of data points related to Apollo Go, it’s “autonomous ride-hailing service”:

Apollo Go, Baidu’s autonomous ride-hailing service, delivered about 660,000 rides in the first quarter of 2023, up 236% year-over-year and 18% quarter-over-quarter.

The company also reminded investors that Apollo Go was the first to receive permits in Beijing in March to “operate ride-hailing services without a driver or security guard in the vehicles.”

So if we assume an average trip of, say, 2 miles, Apollo Go drove over a million miles in the first quarter alone. That’s a lot of autonomous driving.

Baidu’s update follows other self-driving car outfit progress reports: Cruise said a few months ago it had covered “one million fully driverless miles” in the 15 months since it began offering fully driverless rides.

We also talked about Cruise’s geographic expansion earlier in May:

Cruise is rolling out its self-driving cars to more cities, particularly Houston and Dallas, as it expands its presence in Texas. Cruise already started testing its vehicles in Austin late last year and announced plans to start testing its Origin robotaxis there earlier in 2023.

Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving efforts have also expanded their own scope:

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