• Major cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai are being used to test driverless taxis, or 'robotaxis'.
  • Robotaxis' market share is expected to grow to around 5%, which could impact car sharing and ride-hailing.
  • A number of Chinese tech giants are fighting to control the robotaxi market, with businesses like Didi and Baidu building more autonomous cars.

Tests with driverless taxi services have been underway in China's major cities, also called tier one cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. Still a novelty today, robotaxis are expected to experience a quick rollout in China's main metropolises. Numbers by McKinsey & Company show that less than ten years down the line, driverless taxis are projected to service between a fifth and a quarter of all kilometers passengers travel on shared mobility in those cities.

The projected expansion of robotaxis' marketshare will negatively affect both ride-hailing and ride-sharing/car rental. Still, in the growing Chinese market, there is plenty of room as shared mobility passenger kilometers are expected to grow from 177 billion in 2020 to approximately 450 billion by 2030.

AI, machine learning, technology

How is the World Economic Forum ensuring that artificial intelligence is developed to benefit all stakeholders?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting all aspects of society — homes, businesses, schools and even public spaces. But as the technology rapidly advances, multistakeholder collaboration is required to optimize accountability, transparency, privacy and impartiality.

The World Economic Forum's Platform for Shaping the Future of Technology Governance: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is bringing together diverse perspectives to drive innovation and create trust.

  • One area of work that is well-positioned to take advantage of AI is Human Resources — including hiring, retaining talent, training, benefits and employee satisfaction. The Forum has created a toolkit Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence for Human Resources to promote positive and ethical human-centred use of AI for organizations, workers and society.
  • Children and young people today grow up in an increasingly digital age in which technology pervades every aspect of their lives. From robotic toys and social media to the classroom and home, AI is part of life. By developing AI standards for children, the Forum is working with a range of stakeholders to create actionable guidelines to educate, empower and protect children and youth in the age of AI.
  • The potential dangers of AI could also impact wider society. To mitigate the risks, the Forum is bringing together over 100 companies, governments, civil society organizations and academic institutions in the Global AI Action Alliance to accelerate the adoption of responsible AI in the global public interest.
  • AI is one of the most important technologies for business. To ensure C-suite executives understand its possibilities and risks, the Forum created the Empowering AI Leadership: AI C-Suite Toolkit, which provides practical tools to help them comprehend AI’s impact on their roles and make informed decisions on AI strategy, projects and implementations.
  • Shaping the way AI is integrated into procurement processes in the public sector will help define best practice which can be applied throughout the private sector. The Forum has created a set of recommendations designed to encourage wide adoption, which will evolve with insights from a range of trials.
  • The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Rwanda worked with the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology and Innovation to promote the adoption of new technologies in the country, driving innovation on data policy and AI – particularly in healthcare.

Contact us for more information on how to get involved.

Across all of China, robotaxis are expected to hold a market share of around 5 percent of shared mobility kilometers by the same time. Of course, Chinese tech giants want a piece of the new segment, with internet powerhouse Baidu squaring off against ride-hailing giant Didi. Baidu, which builds autonomous cars together with its business partners, has pledged to build 1,000 driverless vehicles in the next three years, while Didi is also rolling out its driverless taxis in a trial phase. Guangzhou, another Chinese tier one city, meanwhile is the testing ground for the robotaxi fleets of startups WeRide, which partners with Nissan, and Pony.ai.

Percent of shared mobility passenger kilometers travelled in China's tier one cities, by type of service.
Share of distance travelled on different modes of transport in China.
Image: McKinsey & Company