The world of autonomous vehicles just got a lot more interesting. Well-financed startup WeRide, which recently secured the majority of autonomous-vehicle licenses in Guangzhou, has formed a new joint venture to launch “RoboTaxis” in the provincial capital – possibly by as soon as next year.
What’s most interesting about the announcement is that it seems WeRide is, to use horseracing parlance, “changing jockeys in the middle of a race”. It had announced last September that it would launch the RoboTaxi service together with Baiyun Taxi, which has a fleet of more than 10,000 cars, and Guangzhou Auto Corp., the country’s second-biggest carmaker. In the latest announcement, there is no mention of GAC. Instead, the third partner of the JV is a state-owned company known for developing industrial parks, SCI (Guangzhou) Group.