AutoX Inc. last week announced that it has received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test its autonomous driving technology without a safety driver on public roads in parts of San Jose, Calif.
AutoX was founded in 2016 by Dr. Jianxiong Xiao, who has autonomous vehicle experience from MIT and Princeton University. The San Jose-based startup claimed that its AutoX Driver platform can handle the densest and most dynamic traffic conditions in cities around the world. The company raised funding and partnered with Chrysler in February.
AutoX passes regulatory milestone
AutoX is only the third company to receive a driverless permit in the state of California, according to the California DMV. It said the approval is a major step toward achieving its mission of “democratizing autonomy.” The other companies that have obtained such permission are Nuro and Waymo.
In addition to allowing AutoX to to test without a safety driver present in the vehicle, the permit allows for testing with passengers. As a first step, the operation will be conducted on surface roads in San Jose with a speed limit of up to 45 mph in the area around the headquarters of PayPal.
In the process of obtaining its Driverless Permit, AutoX collaborated closely with the California DMV, California Highway Patrol, the city of San Jose, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and third-party experts from California Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology at UC Berkeley (UCB PATH).
Taxicab offerings to expand worldwide
Since February 2017, AutoX has had permission from the state of California to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers. In June 2019, the company obtained the second Autonomous Vehicle Pilot Permit from California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and it launched its xTaxi pilot programs to the public.
AutoX has eight offices around the world and operates five research and development centers including two in San Jose and San Diego. The company said it has carried out autonomous vehicle road tests and pilot projects in 13 cities globally.
AutoX currently operates a robotaxi fleet in Shenzhen and Shanghai. It said the diverse data gleaned from these experiences, especially in two of China’s largest cities, has given it valuable advantages in perfecting its technology and expanding globally.
This past April, the company opened a RoboTaxi Operations Center in Shanghai, which now serves as the largest data hub for self-driving car data in Asia.