Will at least 10 world cities have a generally available self-driving taxi service by 2025?
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Resolved to YES if on 2025-01-01: - 10 cities with more than 300,000 inhabitants - Have a taxi service of fully self-driving cars (no test, backup or remote human driver - passengers are the only humans in the car and they control where the car is going by specifying a destination). - The service is generally available (anyone can register for the service and order rides with no restrictions other than the obvious ones that would be placed on similar human-operated services like Uber and Lyft - for example: need a smartphone, credit card), subject to availability (supply constraints are OK). - It is reasonable to assume that the service is not considered a restricted experiment by the operating company or local authorities (based on publicly available media and reports). Mar 4, 8:27pm: John Carmack is betting quite a lot of real money on a very similar proposition, but 5 years later: https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/1499803694522589187 | https://blog.codinghorror.com/the-2030-self-driving-car-bet/
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More evidence for “commercial licenses” in Wuhan, Shenzhen, Beijing for Apollo Go.

https://www.business-standard.com/amp/world-news/china-s-apollo-go-sparks-debate-on-low-cost-robotaxi-service-and-job-impact-124071900385_1.html

This article says commercial licenses are starting this month in Shanghai (although I’m pretty sure it’s just bad journalism since Apollo Go already had this for over a year, but I think it’s referring to a new batch of licenses for Apollo Go AND three other companies)

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/shanghai-put-driverless-robotaxis-roads-093000308.html

I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Apollo Go does have commercial licenses in the cities that its website SAYS it’s operating commercially in. I don’t know how feasible it is to find English language coverage for every city though?

That being said,

Phoenix, Mesa, SF, LA, Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Guangzhou makes 10. Plus another 4+ if you believe Apollo Go’s website! And we still have 5 months to go.

Last week Ben Shindel claimed that this had already happened.

I found a post from Reddit:

“I had a co-worker visit Wuhan recently and he was able to try it without knowing someone.”

“it’s a blended fleet, meaning that depending on your start/end point you’ll either get a driverless car or a driver red car. He couldn’t exactly tell, but the driverless territory appears to be about a quarter of the “full” service area, which is itself ~75% of Wuhan.

He did a driverless ride that was in a quiet part of town and generally went well, the pickup was wonky as pickup spots are sparse and cars really a ick to them, so it double parked unnecessarily. He did a delivered ride in a denser area, and there were frequent disengages as progress was slow otherwise.”

Is this is all true, would you consider this as a city that satisfies the criteria?

@intellectronica are you willing to answer the question above? It will help me calibrate my wagering here.

@JimAusman hey! I think I've engaged quite fairly on this market, presenting long threads with evidence and not making unverifiable claims. Waitlists (supply constraints) are not precluded by this market explicitly, and many people I know have ridden driverless cars in SF and Phx. I assumed that since there was no waitlist in Phx, it had been removed prior in SF, but it turned out SF was slower. But 300k ppl had ALREADY ridden Waymo driverless cars in SF (larger than the entire city pop required by this market).

I hope this proposition ends up true, it would show great progress in a technology that has the potential to have many benefits. But it’s not there yet. Maybe by the end of the year. What do you think? Does Wuhan qualify, given the information above?

That’s a tough call. I think if there’s a good chance that you’ll get a human driver that would have to be a no. If it’s a rare exception I’d argue we should include this city. What would you suggest are sensible rules in this case? I’m open to advice on what’s a helpful interpretation in the spirit of this bet. What I really care about is is "robotaxi tech is widely deployed in non-experimental setting". The specific rules are just to make things measurable and rational.

why are you betting NO then haha

It’s all just being tested. It is possible that China will let companies go from starting tests to full approval in six months but I don’t think it is very likely.

https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/china-gives-first-approvals-public-trials-advanced-autonomous-driving-2024-06-04/

Jim… this is like if you pulled up an article saying “SF grants permission to Toyota to begin testing self-driving cars” as proof that Waymo doesn’t already have autonomous rideshares there.

Two things can be true at once: China can be letting certain companies start to test their cars AND they can already have other companies that have operational commercialized services!!

It’s not news that China is permitting companies to test self-driving cars if companies already have self driving cars in those cities. You have actually submitted no proof that any of city in China allows the general public to use self driving cars. The city with the most testing has only 400 being tested, no where near enough for general use.

More than 10 cities in china. Commercial use, available for anyone, no driver.

The NYT says that they are testing self driving cars, not that they are available for general use.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/13/business/china-driverless-cars.html

It says 16 cities are testing them. It doesn't say that a subset of those cities ALSO don't have robotaxis available for commercial use. If you look at the links I shared in the thread below, you'll see that many of those cities indeed do allow commercial use.

opened a Ṁ500 NO at 73% order

The Apollo website says that self driving cars are available in Wuhan and the NYT says that they are being tested there. I don’t speak Chinese but it will be interesting to see which one is correct.

They ARE being tested there. But they are ALSO available commercially. These things are not mutually exclusive.

What is the name of the company that serves the general public and what city is it in? So far, every article you have share is about tests and trial and demonstration projects, and all but one have a very limited number of cars.

bought Ṁ500 YES

Apollo just launched services last month. They expanded out of Wuhan and Beijing and now operate in 10 cities. Add that to SF, Phx (and Austin and LA by end of year) and we're well over 10!

https://en.apollo.auto/robotaxi

Map of services here. I did some fact-checking online, turns out they're PROFITABLE already?!

thread of evidence in case you don't believe this map:

SF (1) and Phx (2) are Waymo, no proof needed, my friends/family have ridden on those commercially.

LA (3) available now but only to ppl who got off waitlist. I'm pretty sure this qualifies but even if not, should def meet criteria by end of year.

China: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/13/business/china-driverless-cars.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare "16 cities have allowed testing" not sure if all 16 meet criteria for this market, but many I've found explicit evidence for commercialization:


Wuhan (4):
evidence in NYT article above, and generally they have the largest fleet in the world I think?

Beijing (5):
since last year https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/19/chinas-capital-city-beijing-has-big-plans-for-robotaxis-ponyai-says.html

Shanghai (6):
https://www.just-auto.com/news/china-allows-unmanned-robotaxis-to-operate-in-key-cities/?cf-view

Shenzhen (7):

https://www.scmp.com/tech/policy/article/3234293/chinese-tech-hub-shenzhen-soon-open-specific-sections-city-highways-autonomous-vehicle-trials-report

(paywalled, but there are tons of articles showing Shenzhen has allowed automonous driving, this article shows they're allowing expansion to highways too!)

Chongqing (8):
https://www.ichongqing.info/2024/03/18/take-a-driverless-ride-in-chinas-mountain-city/
There's plenty of evidence if you scroll a bit, not only of robotaxis, but also self-driving buses!

Guangzhou (9):

Baidu offers here, but ALSO ANOTHER robotaxi company: https://autonews.gasgoo.com/m/70030703.html

Yangquan, Wuzhen, Hefei, Changsha (10-13) mentioned pre-emptively like "will be opening services" in many articles, but struggling to find English language stuff. Regardless, pretty sure these are in operation based on the map on the Apollo/Baidu website and the many articles on Apollo/Baidu offering services.

Hope this is adequate to resolve YES!

@intellectronica not sure if you can resolve YES now, or if you plan on waiting until Jan 1st to make sure these cities are still offering services. I'm surprised no one caught this earlier! To be fair, a lot of stuff in China is flying under the radar and happening super fast. My friend who works in Beijing and Shanghai put me onto this.

bought Ṁ100 NO

Does Waymo actually let anyone register without having a waiting list?

“The service is generally available (anyone can register for the service and order rides with no restrictions other than the obvious ones that would be placed on similar human-operated services like Uber and Lyft”

http://waymo.com/waitlist

bought Ṁ1,000 YES

@JimAusman lol you left out the last part of the criteria in your quote: "subject to availability (supply constraints are OK)."

But regardless, the waitlist link you posted is only for Los Angeles and Austin! The Waymo service is open to anyone in SF and Phoenix! (I have many friends in both cities who routinely use these services).

I use Waymo in San Francisco too, but I had to sit on the waiting list to be able to do so. Can anyone use Waymo now? If so, it is news to me.

This gentleman had to wait a few days to get off the waiting list, I am sure there are more. I expect the waiting list for SF to disappear soon now, but it hasn’t yet.

https://x.com/ianvh/status/1801690144518685143?s=46&t=FpeJfZ2t47mfBabrYbDgrw

Hmmm, well Phoenix for sure has no waitlist. My dad downloaded the app in the airport and used it like 10 min later. But regardless, waitlists don't impact the resolution criteria.

Waitlists absolutely impact the resolution criteria. If you have to wait, it’s not generally available.

I'll wait until the end of the year to get a proper confirmation, but it does look like this is probably already a YES. And if so then this bet is seriously underpriced.

opened a Ṁ1,000 YES at 60% order

Also, Mesa, AZ is a city with 300000+ residents, and has Waymo

We shall see. Which 10 cities satisfy the criteria?

“Recently, GAC Toyota Sienna Robotaxi, equipped with Pony.ai's sixth-generation autonomous driving software and hardware system, secured commercial demonstration operation approval in Guangzhou's Nansha district. ”

What does “demonstration” mean here?

A few months later after my bus ride, in December 2021, the internet giant Baidu invested five "Robotaxi" unmanned autonomous vehicles for online car-hailing services in Yongchuan. After seven months of running various trials and tests, in August 2022, Baidu put an additional 25 of such "Robotaxi" vehicles into use, officially carrying out L4 unmanned autonomous driving commercial demonstration operations in Yongchuan

Another “demonstration” project with only 29 taxis. Can 29 taxis commercially serve a city of millions?

“Chinese tech hub Shenzhen to soon open specific sections of city highways for autonomous vehicle trials: report”

“trials”

“Out of more than 200 robotaxis that Pony.ai operates in the region, only about ten are currently fully driverless, Zhang said. He noted that Beijing city considers seven factors in a phased process of allowing public robotaxi operation, including which seat the safety driver is sitting in and whether the car is being used for testing or for commercial operation.”

Can 10 cars serve the entire city? The article repeated uses the word test areas and trials and says that they hope to serve all of Beijing in 2 years.

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