Two Chinese Cities Approve Baidu’s Unmanned Self-Driving Taxis

SINGAPORE—China took a notable regulatory step in the field of driverless taxis, with two cities giving Baidu Inc. approval to operate ride-hailing services without a driver or a person overseeing safety in the vehicle.

The Chinese search-engine giant, which already operates self-driving taxis, plans to add five unmanned cars each to the cities of Wuhan and Chongqing, it said. These vehicles will run in designated areas of those cities during the daytime, when there tends to be more traffic on the road, the company said. The approvals also allow Baidu to charge users for the rides, it said.