China Publishes First Robotaxi Passenger Survey Report

By That's Guangzhou, December 2, 2020

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Have you been in a robotaxi yet? If not, you might be missing out!

WeRide recently announced that a total of 147,128 trips were completed for more than 60,000 passengers during its first year of robotaxi service. Marking its one-year anniversary of robotaxi operation, WeRide has joined hands with the Institute of Transportation Engineering, Tsinghua University, to conduct a robotaxi passenger survey and publish China’s first robotaxi passenger survey report. 

The report shows that nearly 30% of the surveyed WeRide robotaxi passengers are loyal riders who use the service at least once a week, and 37% of respondents say they are now ready for the fully driverless robotaxi.

WeRide, an L4 autonomous driving mobility company, launched its robotaxi service in the Huangpu and Guangzhou Development district in Guangzhou on November 28, 2019.

Within its 144 square kilometers of service range in the center of the district, WeRide has set up more than 200 pick-up and drop-off spots.

Over its first 365 days of operation, WeRide robotaxi has left the first footprints of China’s L4 autonomous driving commercialization. Tony Han, Founder and CEO of WeRide, noted: “Our operation data and research reports show that WeRide has achieved remarkable results in its ongoing expansion of bringing robotaxi service to the public, as well as gaining recognition from both the industry and the public. WeRide has, on the one hand, turned a new page for self-driving commercialization, and on the other secured a head start for the commercialization of fully driverless service.”

READ MORE: You Can Now Hail a Robo-Taxi in Guangzhou Using This App

WeRide’s Robotaxi operation over the past year provides a good opportunity for in-depth exploration of the impact made by self-driving technology. It is in this context that WeRide and the Institute of Transportation Engineering, Tsinghua University, conducted their research and published China’s First Robotaxi Passenger Survey Report.

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As revealed in the report, WeRide has won a group of loyal users from the traditional mobility market since its launch a year ago. Survey results show that 28% of passengers use the service at least once a week and 15% ride at least three times a week. The continuous expansion of its service to the public has helped WeRide secure an advantageous place in the mobility market, offering us a glimpse of self-driving’s potential impact on urban transportation.

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WeRide Robotaxi’s main passenger group lies in the young and middle-aged demographic. Nearly 90% of the surveyed passengers are full-time employees; nearly 80% have an education background of undergraduate or above and most of them have a driver’s license. Most of these passengers come from the traditional taxi/ride-hailing car market. Nearly 60% of passengers use WeRide’s Robotaxis for their regular commute.

WeRide has received recognition from riders for its operation. ‘In-vehicle cleanliness,’ ‘safety driver performance’ and ‘app user experience’ score relatively high in the survey. As for the ride experience brought by self-driving, ‘courtesy to pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles’ and ‘driving safety’ are also rated as rather satisfactory.

weride-study.jpegAbout 80% of the respondents say they will keep on using WeRide Robotaxi in the future or recommend it to their friends, colleagues and family members. Nearly 90% of passengers hope to see the service expanding to more areas. Such data is evidence of existing robotaxi users’ great confidence in self-driving technology and willingness to embrace and promote new mobility methods.

Ruimin Li, associate professor at Tsinghua University and director of Institute of Transportation Engineering, said the survey serves as a valuable guide for the industry. Li said: “The mass application of self-driving technology will impact on urban transportation systems in many ways. However, due to the lack of real case studies of self-driving operation, many ideas remain unsubstantiated. This past year’s operation of WeRide Robotaxi in Guangzhou provides a good opportunity for an in-depth exploration of the wide-ranging impact brought by self-driving technology.”

READ MORE: AutoX COO Jewel Li Talks Benefits of Robotaxis in China

As the first to try out self-driving services in China, WeRide Robotaxi’s passengers have a more rational and optimistic attitude towards technological development and the commercialization of fully driverless service. 

According to the report, 37% of the passengers surveyed say they are “ready now” to embrace the idea of riding the fully driverless robotaxi, while 39% expect to be able to do so after safe road tests are carried out for one year.

WeRide also plans to launch a fully driverless ride trial program (by-appointment) to the public, further promoting autonomous driving technology and leading the industry forward.

READ MORE: How China's Mobility Companies Can Mitigate Disease Outbreaks

[Images via WeRide]

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