This article may need to be rewritten to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (January 2021)
A robotaxi, also known as robo-raxi, self-driving taxi or driverless taxi, is an autonomous car (SAE automation level 4 or 5) operated for a ridesharing company. Several studies highlighted that robotaxis operated in an Autonomous Mobility on Demand (AMoD) service could be one of the most rapidly adopted applications of autonomous cars at scale and a major mobility solution in the near future, especially in urban areas, providing the majority of vehicle miles in the United States within a decade of their first introduction. Moreover, they could have a very positive impact on road safety, traffic congestion and parking. Concerning pollution and consumption of energy and other resources, robotaxis could lead to significant improvement since these services will most probably use electric cars and for most of the rides, less vehicle size and range is necessary compared to usual, individually owned vehicles. The expectable reduction of the number of vehicles means less embodied energy but energy consumption for redistribution of empty vehicles must be taken into account. The fact of eliminating the need for a human driver or chauffeur, which represents a significant part of the operating costs of that type of services, could make it a very affordable solution for the customers and accelerate the spreading of Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) solutions as opposed to individual car ownership. However, such developments could lead to job destruction and new challenges concerning operator liabilities.
Predictions of the widespread and rapid introduction of robo-taxis - by as early as 2018 - have not been realized. There are a number of pilot trials underway in cities around the world, some of which are in revenue service and open to the public. However, questions have been raised as to whether the progress of self-driving technology has stalled and whether issues of social acceptance, cybersecurity and cost have been addressed.
So far all the trials have involved specially modified passenger cars with space for 2 or 4 passengers sitting in the back seats behind a partition. LIDAR, cameras and other sensors have been used on all vehicles. The cost of early vehicles has been estimated at up to $300,000 due to custom manufacture and specialized sensors. However, the prices of some components such as the LIDAR has fallen by up to 90%. Volume production may see the cost fall further and Baidu announced in June 2021 it would start producing robotaxi for 500,000 yuan (US$77,665) each. Waymo has estimated its hardware costs at $0.30 per mile (~$0.19 per km), but this excludes the cost of fleet technicians and customer support.
Several companies are testing robotaxi services, especially in the United States and in China. All tests so far only operate in a geo-fenced area. Service areas for robotaxis, often dubbed the Objective Design Domain (ODD) by the industry, are specially designated zones where robotaxis can safely provide service.
In early tests there were one or two "safety drivers" or "safety engineers" to take control back in case of emergency. Early tests offered free rides and were restricted to company employees or pre-approved passengers. Further development has led to testing without a safety drivers in the vehicles although some trials resume the use of drivers under inclement weather such as rain. Vehicles may also be manually driven if a vehicle is becomes "paralysed" by a situation out of which it cannot manoeuvre automatically. In these cases either a support driver is brought to the vehicle or the car is operated remotely. Revenue service for the general public has been introduced in a number of trials.
Separate to these efforts have been trials of shared autonomous vehicles with larger vehicles on fixed routes with designated stops, able to carry between 6 and 10 passengers. Most of these shuttle buses operate a low speeds although recently a number of vehicles capable of highway speeds have been revealed including the Zoox and the Cruise Origin.
In February 2018 in Arizona, the state has granted Waymo a Transportation Network Company permit.
In February 2022 in California, The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued Drivered Deployment permits to Cruise and Waymo to allow for passenger service in autonomous vehicles with a safety driver present in the vehicle. These carriers must hold a valid California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Deployment permit and meet the requirements of the CPUC Drivered Deployment program. And in June 2022, Cruise has scored final approvals to operate a commercial robotaxi service in San Francisco.
In April 2022, Chinese companies Baidu and Pony.ai received permits to deploy robotaxis without humans in the driver seat on open roads within a 23 square mile area in the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area, and it was the first time in their home country.
In August 2016, MIT spinoff NuTonomy was the first company to make robotaxis available to the public, starting to offer rides with a fleet of 6 modified Renault Zoes and Mitsubishi i-MiEVs in a limited area in Singapore. NuTonomy later signed three significant partnerships to develop its robotaxi service: with Grab, Uber’s rival in Southeast Asia, with Groupe PSA, which is supposed to provide the company with Peugeot 3008 SUVs and the last one with Lyft to launch a robotaxi service in Boston.
In August 2017, Cruise Automation, a self-driving startup acquired by General Motors in 2016, launched the beta version of a robotaxi service for its employees in San Francisco using a fleet of 46 Chevrolet Bolt EVs.
Testing and revenue service timeline
Trials listed have a safety driver unless otherwise indicated. The commencement of a trial does not mean it is still active.
- August 2016 - NuTonomy launched its autonomous taxi service using a fleet of 6 modified Renault Zoes and Mitsubishi i-MiEVs in Singapore
- September 2016 - Uber started allowing a select group of users in Pittsburgh to order robotaxis from a fleet of 14 vehicles. Two Uber engineers were always in the front seats of each vehicle.
- March 2017 - An Uber self-driving car was hit and flipped on its side by another vehicle that failed to yield. In October 2017, Uber started using only one test driver.
- April 2017 - Waymo started a large scale robotaxi tests in a geo-fenced suburb of Phoenix, Arizona with a driver monitoring each vehicle. The service area was about 100 sq mi (260 km2) In November 2017 some testing without drivers began. Commercial operations began in November 2019.
- August 2017 - Cruise Automation launched the beta version robotaxi service for 250 employees (10% of its staff) in San Francisco using a fleet of 46 vehicles.
- March 2018 - A woman attempting to cross a street in Tempe, Arizona at night was struck and killed by an Uber vehicle while the onboard engineer was watching videos. Uber later restarted testing, but only during daylight hours and at slower speeds.
- August 2018 - Yandex began a trial with two vehicles in Innopolis, Russia
- December 2018 - Waymo started self-driving taxi service, dubbed Waymo One, in Arizona for paying customers.
- April 2019 - Pony.ai launched a pilot system covering 50 km2 (19 sq mi) in Guangzhou for employees and invited affiliated, serving pre-defined pickup points.
- November 2019 - WeRide RoboTaxi began a pilot service with 20 vehicles in Guangzhou and Huangpu over an area of 144.65 km2 (55.85 sq mi)
- November 2019 - Pony.ai started a three-month trial in Irvine, California with 10 cars and stops for pickup and drop off.
- April 2020 - Baidu opened its trial of 45 vehicles in Changsha to public users for free trips, serving 100 designated spots on a set 135 km (84 mi) network. Services operation from 9:20am to 4:40pm with a safety-driver and a "navigator", allowing space for two passengers in the back.
- June 2020 - DiDi robotaxi service begins operation in Shanghai in an area that covers Shanghai's Automobile Exhibition Center, the local business districts, subway stations and hotels in the downtown area.
- August 2020. Baidu began offering free trips, with app bookings, on its trial in Cangzhou which serves 55 designated spots over pre-defined routes.
- December 2020. AutoX (which is backed by Alibaba Group) launched a non-public trial of driverless robotaxis in Shenzhen with 25 vehicles. The service was then opened to the public in January 2021.
- February 2021 - Waymo One began limited robotaxi service in a number of suburbs of San Francisco for a selection of its own employees. In August 2021 the public was invited to apply to use service, with places limited. A safety driver is present in each vehicles. The number of vehicles involved has not been disclosed.
- May 2021 - Baidu commences a commercial robo taxi service with ten Apollo Go vehicles in a 3 km2 (1.2 sq mi) area with eight pickup and drop-off stops, in Shougang Park in western Beijing
- July 2021 - Baidu opened a pilot program to the public in Guangzhou with a fleet of 30 sedans serving 60 sq mi (160 km2) in the Huangpu district. 200 designated spots are served between 9:30am and 11pm every day.
- July 2021 - DeepRoute.ai began a free of charge trial with 20 vehicles in downtown Shenzhen serving 100 pickup and dropoff locations.
- February 2022 - Cruise opened up its driverless cars in San Francisco to the public.
Notable commercial ventures
Uber began development of self driving vehicles in early 2015. In September 2016 the company started a trial allowing a select group of users of its ride-hailing service in Pittsburgh to order robotaxis from a fleet of 14 modified Ford Fusions. The test extended to San Francisco with modified Volvo XC90s before being relocated to Tempe, Arizona in February 2017.
In March 2017, one of Uber's robotaxis crashed in self-driving mode in Arizona, which led the company to suspend its tests before resuming them a few days later. In March 2018, Uber paused self-driving vehicle testing after the death of Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona, a pedestrian struck by an Uber vehicle while attempting to cross the street, while the onboard engineer was watching videos. Uber settled with the victim's family.
In early 2017, Waymo, the Google self-driving car project which became an independent company in 2016, started a large public robotaxi test in Phoenix using 100 and then 500 more Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as part of a partnership between the two companies. Waymo also signed a deal with Lyft to collaborate on self-driving cars in May 2017. In November 2017, Waymo revealed it had begun to operate some of its automated vehicles in Arizona without a safety driver behind the wheel. And in December 2018, Waymo started self-driving taxi service, dubbed Waymo One, in Arizona for paying customers. By November 2019, the service was operating autonomous vehicles without a safety backup driver.
In February 2022, Cruise started driverless taxi service in San Francisco. Also in February 2022, Cruise petitioned U.S. regulators (NHTSA) for permission to build and deploy a self-driving vehicle without human controls. As of April 2022[update], the petition is pending.
Many automakers have announced their plans to develop robotaxis before 2025 and specific partnerships have been signed between automakers, technology providers and service operators. Most significant disclosed information include:
- The startup Zoox announcing in 2015 its ambition to build a robotaxi from scratch;
- Daimler AG teaming up with Bosch in 2017 to develop the software for a robotaxi service by 2025;
- The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance partnering with Transdev and DeNA to develop robotaxi services within 10 years from 2017;
- Didi Chuxing partnering with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and other automakers to explore the future launch of robotaxi services in China.
- BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles partnering with Intel and Mobileye to develop robotaxis by 2021;
- Honda releasing in 2017 an autonomous concept car, NeuV, that aims at being a personal robotaxi;
- Baidu partnering with Nvidia to develop autonomous cars and robotaxis;
- Ford Motor's plan in 2017 to develop a robotaxi by 2021 thanks to several partnerships;
- Ford Motor investing $1 billion in the startup Argo AI to develop autonomous cars and robotaxis;
- Lyft and Ford partnering in 2017 to add Ford's self-driving cars to Lyft's ride-hailing network;. Google leading a $1 billion investment in 2017 in Lyft which could support Waymo's robotaxi strategy. In 2021, Lyft's self-driving division was sold to Toyota.
- Delphi buying the startup NuTonomy for $400 million in 2017;
- Parsons Corporation announcing a partnership with automated mobility operating system company [Renovo.auto] to deploy and scale AMoD services;
- "Gauging the disruptive power of robo-taxis in autonomous driving". McKinsey & Company. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
- "Self-Driving Vehicles, Robo-Taxis, and the Urban Mobility Revolution". www.bcgperspectives.com. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Ten ways autonomous driving could redefine the automotive world". McKinsey & Company. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Download". RethinkX. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Lee, Timothy B. (2015-03-17). "5 reasons self-driving taxis are going to be amazing". Vox. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "How shared self-driving cars could change city traffic". International Transport Forum. 31 March 2015.
- Walker, Jonathan; Johnson, Charlie (2016). "Peak Car Ownership Report - Rocky Mountain Institute". Rocky Mountain Institute. Rocky Mountain Institute. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
- Buschbacher, Harald (2018-04-16). "2-wheel personal rapid transit: Self-driving vehicles for maximum sustainability" (PDF). Proceedings of 7th Transport Research Arena TRA 2018. doi:10.5281/zenodo.1441105.
- Spieser, Kevin; Treleaven, Kyle; Zhang, Rick; Frazzoli, Emilio; Morton, Daniel; Pavone, Marco (2014). "Toward a Systematic Approach to the Design and Evaluation of Automated Mobility-on-Demand Systems: A Case Study in Singapore". Road Vehicle Automation. Lecture Notes in Mobility. Springer, Cham. pp. 229–245. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-05990-7_20. hdl:1721.1/82904. ISBN 9783319059891.
- Taiebat; Brown; Safford; Qu; Xu (2018). "A Review on Energy, Environmental, and Sustainability Implications of Connected and Automated Vehicles". Environmental Science & Technology. 52 (20): 11449–11465. arXiv:1901.10581. doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b00127. PMID 30192527. S2CID 52174043.
- Higgins, Tim (2017-06-21). "The End of Car Ownership". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Why no one will own a driverless car". Business Insider France (in French). Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Muller, Joann. "The Next Car You Buy Could Be Your Last – The Robo-Taxi Era Is Closer Than You Think". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "It Could Be 10 Times Cheaper To Take Electric Robo-Taxis Than To Own A Car By 2030". Fast Company. 2017-05-30. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Constine, Josh. "Jobless in the self-driving economy | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Economic Disaster: The Robo-Taxi is Closer to Reality than You Think". AnonHQ. 2017-04-26. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Guerra, Alice; Parisi, Francesco; Pi, Daniel (n.d.). "Liability for robots I: legal challenges". Journal of Institutional Economics. 18 (3): 331–343. doi:10.1017/S1744137421000825. ISSN 1744-1374. S2CID 244675444.
- "'Peak hype': why the driverless car revolution has stalled". The Guardian. 4 January 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "Follow The Money Of Robotaxis: A Massive Market Of Dollars And Obstacles". Forbes. 30 March 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "Baidu to deploy 1,000 budget robotaxis on Chinese roads as it seeks ways to monetise autonomous driving technology". SCMP. 18 June 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "Waymo CEO Says Tesla Is Not A Competitor, Gives Estimated Cost Of Autonomous Vehicles". Forbes. 22 January 2021.
- Jonathan M. Gitlin (17 February 2018). "Robotaxi permit gets Arizona's OK; Waymo will start service in 2018". Ars Technica. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
- "CPUC Issues First Autonomous Vehicle Drivered Deployment Permits". CPUC. 28 February 2022. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
- "We're going commercial" (Press release). Cruise. 2 June 2022. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
- Rebecca Bellan (3 June 2022). "Cruise can finally charge for driverless robotaxi rides in San Francisco". TechCrunch. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
- "Beijing grants new robotaxi permits". Automotive News. 28 April 2022. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
- "Baidu, Pony.AI win first driverless robotaxi permits in China". TechCrunch. 28 April 2022. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
- Vincent, James (2016-08-25). "World's first self-driving taxi trial begins in Singapore". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Russell, Jon. "Uber rival Grab partners with Nutonomy to test self-driving cars in Singapore | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Russell, Jon. "Nutonomy teams up with Peugeot-maker Groupe PSA for self-driving car tests in Singapore | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Groupe PSA and nuTonomy Form Strategic Partnership to Test Fully Autonomous Vehicles in Singapore | Media Groupe PSA". media.groupe-psa.com. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Etherington, Darrell. "Lyft and Nutonomy partner to bring first self-driving Lyft service to Boston | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "GM's Robocar Service Drives Employees Around SF for Free". WIRED. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Etherington, Darrell. "Cruise is running an autonomous ride-hailing service for employees in SF | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- ."Login Join Extra Crunch Search TC Sessions: SaaS Startups Videos Audio Newsletters Extra Crunch EC-1s Advertise Events More Waymo starts to open driverless ride-hailing service to the public". Tech Crunch. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "Robo-taxi fleet has been in service since August, 2018". YouTube. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "Yandex Offers Robotaxi Rides to Citizens of Remote Russian City". Bloomberg. 28 August 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "Waymo unveils self-driving taxi service in Arizona for paying customers". Reuters. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
- "Pony.ai tests robo-taxi program on its employees, promises self-driving trucks next". Venture Beat. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
- "WeRide kicks off a robotaxi pilot program in Guangzhou". technode. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "WeRide Pilots First Robotaxi Service in China's First-Tier City Guangzhou". Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "Pony.ai to launch BotRide robo-taxi service in Irvine". Venture Beat. 25 October 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
- "Baidu Apollo Robotaxi deployed in Changsha offers "considerate" riding experience". Gasgoo. 12 August 2020. Retrieved 2021-07-27.
- "DiDi Robotaxi Service Begins Operation in Shanghai". YouTube. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "Baidu launches Robotaxi service "Apollo Go" for general public in Cangzhou". Gasgoo. 21 August 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
- "Alibaba-backed autonomous car firm AutoX starts driverless testing". Reuters. 3 December 2020. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- http://www.autox.ai/download/video/driverless_robotaxi_en.mp4[bare URL AV media file]
- "AutoX Launches Driverless Robotaxis To The Public In Shenzhen". Forbes. 27 January 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "Waymo giving select passengers robotaxi rides in SF". The Robot Report. 24 August 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-28.
- "Baidu goes commercial with 'robotaxis' in Beijing". Shanghai Daily. 3 May 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "Baidu opens robotaxi pilot to public in Guangzhou". TechNode. 19 July 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
- "Baidu Expands Robotaxi Pilot Program to Guangzhou". CX Tech. 20 July 2021. Retrieved 2021-07-27.
- "DeepRoute.ai begins robotaxi trials with 20 vehicles in downtown Shenzhen". KrAsia. 20 July 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
- "Welcome, Riders". www.getcruise.com. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
- Brewster, Signe. "Uber starts self-driving car pickups in Pittsburgh | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Etherington, Darrell. "Uber deploying self-driving cars from San Francisco pilot in Arizona instead | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Buhr, Sarah; Dickey, Megan Rose. "Self-driving Ubers are now picking people up in Arizona | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Lomas, Natasha. "Uber grounds entire self-driving fleet as it probes Arizona crash | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Uber Self-Driving Car Tests Resume Three Days After Crash". Bloomberg.com. 2017-03-27. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Sage, Alexandra (March 19, 2018). "Woman dies in Arizona after being hit by Uber self-driving SUV". Reuters.
- "Uber has settled with the family of the homeless victim killed last week". TechCrunch. March 29, 2018. Archived from the original on March 31, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
- Hu, Krystal; Bellon, Tina; Lee, Jane Lanhee (December 7, 2020). "Uber sells ATG self-driving business to Aurora at $4 billion". Reuters. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
- Mericle, Julia (January 19, 2021). "Aurora closes acquisition of Uber ATG, forms partnership with PACCAR". American City Business Journals.
- Bhuiyan, Johana (2016-12-13). "Google's self-driving arm is spinning out of X and will be called Waymo". Recode. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Etherington, Darrell. "Waymo begins first public on-demand self-driving service test in Arizona | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "FCA provides Waymo with vans for self-drive tests". Detroit News. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Isaac, Mike (2017-05-14). "Lyft and Waymo Reach Deal to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Laris, Michael (2017-11-07). "Waymo is taking the next step in the driverless car evolution". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
- Hawkins, Andrew (2019-12-09). "Waymo's driverless car: ghost-riding in the back seat of a robot taxi". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
- Piper, Kelsey (2020-02-28). "It's 2020. Where are our self-driving cars? - In the age of AI advances, self-driving cars turned out to be harder than people expected". Vox. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
- Howard, Bill (January 23, 2020). "GM's Cruise Origin Is an Autonomous Vehicle From the Future". Extreme Tech. Retrieved 2022-03-16.
- Baldwin, Roberto (January 22, 2020). "Cruise Unveils Origin, a Self-Driving Vehicle with No Steering Wheel or Pedals". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2022-03-16.
- Viknesh Vijayenthiran (2022-02-02). "Cruise opens up driverless taxi service to public in San Francisco". Motor Authority. Retrieved 2022-03-16.
- David Shepardson (2022-02-19). "GM seeks U.S approval to deploy self-driving vehicles". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-03-16.
- David Shepardson (26 April 2022). "U.S. Senate Democrats urge Buttigieg to develop autonomous vehicle rules". Reuters. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
- "Secretive Robotaxi Startup Zoox Prepares for Real-World Testing". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. 2017-03-28. Retrieved 2017-08-25.
- "Mercedes has formed a new alliance to develop robot taxis". Business Insider France (in French). Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Nissan-Renault plan driverless ride-hailing service to beat off startup competition". Reuters. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Korosec, Kirsten. "How Renault-Nissan Is Going to Get You in an Electric Driverless Car". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Renault-Nissan and Didi plan self-driving ride service in China". Engadget. Retrieved 2018-02-15.
- Pak, Steve (2016-07-02). "BMW, Intel team up to launch fully-autonomous robot taxis by 2021". Yibada English. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Fiat Chrysler joins BMW-Intel self-driving car alliance". Reuters. 16 August 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Honda wants its newest concept car to become your personal self-driving taxi". Business Insider France (in French). Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Baidu's Vision of Future: Robot Taxis, Chinese Home Gadgets". Bloomberg.com. 2016-09-01. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Muller, Joann. "Meet The Four Startups Helping Ford Develop A Robo-Taxi By 2021". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- Korosec, Kirsten (2017-08-16). "An inside look at Ford's $1 billion bet on Argo AI". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
- "Ford joins Lyft's expanding group of self-driving partners". Engadget. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
- "Toyota to buy self-driving division of U.S. Ride-hailing firm Lyft". 27 April 2021.
- Burns, Matt. "Delphi buys Nutonomy for $400 million to scale and deliver autonomous vehicles". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
- "Parsons and Renovo Announce Collaboration to Enable Deployment and Scaling of Commercial Automated Mobility on Demand Systems - Parsons". Parsons. 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-12-02.