Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing will roll out robo-taxis in Shanghai, letting people hail self-driving cars through their smartphones.
CEO Cheng Wei made the announcement at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Friday, a gathering designed to demonstrate the country’s prowess in artificial intelligence that featured appearances from Elon Musk, Jack Ma and Pony Ma.
“We believe giving ordinary citizens access to large-scale, shared autonomous fleets is key to achieving our shared goal of safety, efficiency and sustainability for future cities,” said Cheng.
Didi received approval for what is still a pilot project earlier this week, the company said. It will deploy 30 different models of vehicles with level-4 autonomous driving in the Jiading district of the city. Citing the complexity of the urban environment, the company said it will assign a mix of both self- and human-driven taxis for the duration of the trial.
Like Uber Technologies, Didi has taken an early and keen interest in autonomous driving, setting up a division for self-driving research in 2016. It now has more than 200 specialists working to improve the technology, which is being tested in both the US and China. Both Didi and Uber continue to struggle to control costs and attain profitability for their core ride-hailing services. — Reported by Lulu Yilun Chen, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP