Unmanned vehicles are seen at Apollo Park in Yangquan, north China's Shanxi Province, Feb. 25, 2022. (Xinhua/Yang Chenguang)

The city of Yangquan in north China’s Shanxi Province on Friday issued a license to Baidu for the commercial operation of unmanned autonomous driving services — the first license of its kind issued in China.

“That means a safety supervisor is no longer required in the driver’s seat in Baidu’s autonomous vehicles operating in designated areas of the city,” said Nie Yuren, general manager of Baidu Intelligent Driving Business Group Solutions. The license also allows for fare collection, Nie said.

Baidu launched its autonomous driving research and development in 2013. The company has so far carried out road tests in nearly 30 Chinese cities.

Also on Friday, the fifth Apollo Park, a test base for Baidu’s autonomous driving and related infrastructure systems, opened in Yangquan. It follows Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, and Wuzhen in Zhejiang Province.

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