Baidu's Driverless Vehicle Hits Pedestrian in China; Public Largely Backs the Car Maker

By Madz Dizon

Jul 09, 2024 07:26 AM EDT

Baidu's Driverless Vehicle Hits Pedestrian in China; Public Largely Backs the Car Maker
The photo taken on July 17, 2023 shows a driverless robotaxi autonomous vehicle developed by Baidu Apollo driving along a street in Beijing.
(Photo : JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images)

A driverless ride-hailing car in China was involved in an incident where it collided with a pedestrian.

In a statement to Chinese media, Chinese tech giant Baidu explained that the car started moving when the light changed and had a slight interaction with the pedestrian.

Baidu Driverless Car Receives Support After Hitting Pedestrian in China

The individual was transported to a medical facility where a thorough examination revealed no apparent external injuries, according to Baidu.

However, instead of garnering negative reactions, people on social media surprisingly supported the carmaker's perspective. The public argued that the pedestrian was allegedly crossing the road against the traffic signal.

Online images depict an individual seated on the street in close proximity to the driverless vehicle, which is equipped with rooftop sensors. In a post on X, the English-language Shanghai Daily newspaper stated that the pedestrian had violated the law, and comments on social media predominantly supported Baidu.

The recent incident in Wuhan serves as a clear example of the difficulties autonomous driving encounters when navigating through complex scenarios.

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According to AP News, an expert mentioned that the technology might face challenges when it comes to handling unconventional behavior, like vehicles or pedestrians that don't follow traffic laws.

Baidu, a Beijing-based company, is at the forefront of autonomous driving development in China.

In Wuhan, a major city in central China, there is a significant "robotaxi" operation consisting of 300 cars. Wuhan was the location of the world's first major outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020.

Apollo Go, the ride-hailing service, is also available in select areas of three additional Chinese cities: Beijing, Shenzhen, and Chongqing.

In May, the company unveiled its latest driverless taxi, the sixth-generation model. They proudly announced that they had managed to significantly reduce the unit cost to less than $30,000, a reduction of over 50%.

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