‘Tickets Please!’ Baidu Allowed to Charge for Robobus Service in Chongqing

Baidu has taken a step closer to becoming China’s first company to earn money from its self-driving technology.

The Chinese search engine giant said on Monday that it has obtained a license to launch a commercial autonomous bus pilot program in the western Chinese city of Chongqing in a renewed effort to explore monetization mechanisms for such services.

The company’s autonomous buses will be deployed on a 10-kilometer route that includes several pick-up and drop-off sites in Chongqing’s Yongchuan district, with passengers being able to book their rides through the Apollo Go app and the Baidu Map app…

The Chongqing push is Baidu’s second major attempt to accelerate the commercialization of its autonomous vehicle services. In March, the Beijing-based company received a license that allowed it to charge fees via discounts and coupons for its robotaxi service in the northern Chinese city of Cangzhou.