February 29, 2024

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Driverless Taxis Approved in China

Beijing has granted the country’s first permits to two of China’s foremost autonomous taxi operators. The move marks the first time China’s government has allowed self-driving cars, dubbed robotaxis, to carry passengers without a safety operator behind the wheel. Permits issued by the Beijing government allow 14 of these robotaxis to operate in a duly-approved area in Yizhuang (Southern Beijing) that’s about 60 square kilometres.

Technology-wise, it’s still a long way from being fully autonomous but China’s robotaxis are definitely headed in the right direction. In what could be a first for the ride-hailing segment, the Beijing government is giving permits to taxis that run without a driver behind the steering wheel leading the way forward for the country’s other cities.

Industry observers feel that Beijing is just the start. Autonomous driving for commercial purposes should be available in China’s biggest cities such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai, and from there to other metropolitan areas.

Driverless vehicles are not a first in the streets of the biggest cities of the country. The Asian nation has already fielded driverless cars that are capable of parking themselves. Additionally, e-commerce companies have utilised self-driving delivery vehicles to serve consumers. However, Beijing’s recent move is the first time a self-driving vehicle can be hailed by the riding public. These vehicles have been used to augment deliveries in Shanghai during the recent COVID-19 related lockdowns.

Although driverless, these robotaxis will have one safety supervisor sitting at the front passenger seat to make sure safety is observed at all times.  Next-level driverless taxis where no safety officers are sitting upfront will soon be available in about six months’ time. Said company is focused on expanding its current robotaxi fleet.

The technology could be adopted by the public rapidly. One of China’s biggest technology companies granted a permit to offer free rides on their robotaxis from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. Moreover, the company is looking forward to field 30 more robotaxis in the near future.

The robotaxis of the other company got a permit to cover hundreds of locations for pick-up and drop-off. That includes commercial buildings, subway stations, stadiums and even residential areas.

In 2014, the International Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) categorised self-driving cars according to the level of autonomy that the vehicle can give during its on-road operation. Level 5 is the most sophisticated and it’s where all a rider has to do is give a destination and the vehicle will him there no matter the terrain.

China’s digital transformation has allowed it to field sophisticated vehicles. Still, there is a long way to go before a level 5 self-driving car will hit the roads of China. To note, an autonomous vehicle processes tons of information while on the road. It has all sorts of sensors and it uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to ensure the proper response.

One of the most widely used sensors is the Lidar, short for light detecting and ranging, a device that shoots a volley of infrared laser light into the car’s surroundings. The car is then able to calculate the presence of obstacles by looking at how these laser beams bounce back.

Digital adoption is central to China’s economic rise. In accordance with all the benefits digitalisation has brought to the table, the country is set to increase its digital economy by as much as 10% by 2025 as reported on OpenGov Asia.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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