Citizens of Guangzhou will be able to order Apollo Robotaxis and Robobuses during the Chinese New Year as Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) launches its mobility as a service (MaaS) platform in the city, sending its stock up nearly 7% Tuesday afternoon.
In addition to the aforementioned autonomous vehicles, three other models – Apolong, Apollocop, and New Species Vehicle – will be available on demand in what Baidu called “a testament to the promising commercialization prospects of smart transportation in the intelligent era.”
The news sent shares in the Chinese tech giant up to $294.70 per American depositary share by the afternoon. Earlier today, the company hit its 52-week high of $304.22 per share. Overall, BIDU stock has gained 36% this year, additionally boosted by its entry into the electric vehicle space.
Baidu is working with the Guangzhou Huangpu District government on the deployment of its MaaS platform, which will also provide travel services such as sightseeing recommendations. Over 100 Robotaxis and about 1,000 pickup stations are planned for the project. Users can make ride reservations via Baidu Maps and Apollo Go mobile apps, according to the announcement.
Last month, Baidu stood out as the first permit holder in the state of California to receive driverless test permits for two different vehicle models. The new permit allows the company to test three autonomous vehicles in certain areas without anyone behind the wheel.
On Monday, Mizuho reiterated its “buy” on Baidu and raised its price target on the Chinese giant to $325 per share. Mizuho analyst James Lee sees more growth for Baidu as China continues its initiative on the smart transportation network. Lee believes the company may become the dominant supplier in the industry.