Baidu beats Waymo as biggest robotaxi service provider

Baidu has become the world’s largest autonomous mobility service provider, with over 115,000 rides completed via its Apollo Go platform in the third quarter this year, said CEO Robin Li. Statistics show that Waymo offers 20,000 to 40,000 rides in a quarter on average.

Li made the announcement in an internal letter to Baidu employees on Wednesday after the company released its quarterly financial results.

The company’s third quarter revenue ended Sep 30 reached 31.9 billion yuan ($4.95 billion). Non-GAAP net income attributable to Baidu was 5.1 billion yuan, beating market expectations.

Li said Baidu’s progress in autonomous mobility is part of its continuous investment in research and development.

Its statistics show that R&D expense in the third quarter was 6.2 billion yuan, increasing 35 percent year-on-year, but Baidu did not offer investment details in the autonomous driving sector.

The Apollo Go service is now available in five cities including Beijing and Shanghai, where people can hail a robotaxi via a smart phone application.