Baidu Apollo Go provided 115,000 rides in the third quarter. This compares to Waymo's quarterly order volume of about 20,000 to 40,300.

(File photo. Credit: Baidu)

Baidu's mobility service platform "Apollo Go" is in regular commercial operation, providing 115,000 rides in the third quarter, Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Li said today, adding that this makes Baidu the world's largest provider of self-driving mobility services.

Baidu today released unaudited financial results showing that the company reported third-quarter revenue of 31.92 billion yuan ($4.95 billion), largely in line with Wall Street analysts' estimates of 31.81 billion yuan.

Li revealed the information in a letter to employees following the release of the results, saying it was attributed to Baidu's long-term commitment to maintain a high level of R&D spending, which reached RMB 6.2 billion in the third quarter, up 35 percent year-on-year.

As a comparison, public information shows that Waymo has 365 vehicles in 2020 and orders around 1,000-2,000 orders per week, with 12-24,000 orders per quarter.

Waymo's fleet reaches 615 vehicles in August 2021, with orders of 20,002-40,300 per quarter and around 160,000 orders per year.

Baidu's latest figures mean that the company is well ahead of its US counterpart in terms of the number of self-driving travel services.

In the third quarter of this year, Baidu Apollo tested more than 16 million kilometers in L4 self-driving, up 189 percent year-on-year.

Baidu Apollo received 411 autonomous driving test licenses in the third quarter, an increase of 237 licenses from the same period last year.

Baidu Apollo has grown into the world's most active open platform for autonomous driving, with more than 210 global partners, bringing together 65,000 global developers and making 700,000 lines of code open source, Li said.

Baidu hopes to expand its self-driving mobility services to 65 cities by 2025 and 100 cities by 2030, Li said.

Notably, in addition to providing self-driving services for the mobility market, Baidu-backed smart new energy truck company DeepWay unveiled its first smart heavy truck, Xingtu, in late September, marking the start of the tech giant's self-driving technology being used in the freight market.

DeepWay is a joint venture formed by Baidu and Lionbridge Logistics to explore opportunities in the robotruck sector using technology accumulated by its self-driving division Apollo.

The first generation of Xingtu will first enable L3 autonomous driving on high-speed freight routes, with plans for high-speed L4 autonomous driving in the next 3-5 years.

In his letter today, Li also reiterated the schedule for the car-building program of Baidu's carmaking arm, Auto, saying that the unit will unveil its first concept car at the Beijing Auto Show next year, with the goal of mass production by 2023.

Baidu Apollo launches two new vehicles based on WM Motor's W6 to expedite its self-driving technology commercialization