DiDi Autonomous Driving, the self-driving technology arm of Didi Chuxing, the world’s leading mobility technology platform, and Volvo Cars, a global leader in automotive safety, have signed a strategic collaboration agreement on autonomous vehicles for DiDi’s self-driving test fleet.

Volvo Cars will provide DiDi with XC90 cars equipped with necessary backup systems for functions such as steering and braking, and collaborate with DiDi Autonomous Driving to integrate the additional software and hardware required to make it fully ready for autonomous drive.

The XC90 cars will be the first to integrate DiDi Gemini, DiDi Autonomous Driving's new self-driving hardware platform and are intended to be deployed for ride-hailing in DiDi’s network in the future.

The agreement reinforces Volvo Cars’ position as a provider of cars and the partner of choice for self-driving fleets, building on its reputation as a global leader in automotive safety.

The built-in backup systems and safety features on the XC90s, combined with DiDi Autonomous Driving’s advanced self-driving system, will eventually allow the cars to operate without safety drivers in robotaxi services.

Building on today’s agreement, Volvo Cars and DiDi Autonomous Driving look to build a long-term partnership as DiDi continues to expand its autonomous test fleets across China and the US and scales up its commercial robotaxi operations.

As the world’s leading shared mobility technology platform, DiDi uses its deep expertise in network operation and large bank of real-world driving data to develop commercial autonomous transportation services by collaborating with the world’s premium car makers.

In 2020, Volvo Cars provided DiDi with Volvo XC60s for use in Shanghai’s first pilot robotaxi programme. People in certain areas of Shanghai could book trips by robotaxi in the DiDi app and be driven autonomously, while the cars were monitored by a safety driver and engineer.

A Volvo XC90 car integrated with DiDi Gemini, DiDi Autonomous Driving’s new self-driving hardware platform

“This strategic collaboration with DiDi Autonomous Driving is further validation of our ambition to be the partner of choice to the world’s leading ride-hailing companies,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars’ chief executive. “Combining DiDi’s expanding robotaxi programme with our safe cars creates a great match to build trust among consumers for autonomous ride-hailing.”

“In expanding partnerships with global automotive industry leaders, we believe shared, electric and autonomous vehicle networks will be crucial for future urban transport systems to achieve the highest safety and sustainability standards,” said Bob Zhang, CEO of DiDi Autonomous Driving and CTO of Didi Chuxing. “DiDi Gemini, our new self-driving hardware platform incorporates critical hardware improvements from our test passenger service operations in Shanghai. With Volvo Cars’ leadership in safety, we look forward to achieving new milestones towards future autonomous transport services.”

Volvo Cars’ partner-of-choice ambition comes as ride-hailing firms around the globe seek to expand their fleets with fully autonomous cars in a safe and responsible way. The reputation of Volvo Cars as a global leader in automotive safety is a strong asset as it pursues this ambition.

DiDi Gemini

DiDi Gemini is DiDi Autonomous Driving’s new self-driving hardware platform. Based on DiDi’s massive database of ride-hailing data and real-world road test data, DiDi Gemini incorporates critical hardware upgrades including improved sensors, 700TOPS computing power, and ASIL-D rated fallback system. DiDi Gemini achieves multi-layered redundant protections to enhance the overall safety of our autonomous driving experience.

First layer of redundancy - diverse high-performance sensors

Up to fifty diverse sensors are deployed in the DiDi Gemini self-driving hardware platform, including short, mid and long range lidars, radars, automotive-grade cameras and a thermal imager, all interconnected and backing up each other to help the vehicle effectively achieve comprehensive understanding of the surrounding environment at all times, regardless of the fault in any one sensor.
Along the way, the vehicle can obtain a detection range of up to 300m away and can eliminate blind spots - obstacles even within 10cm on the side will be clearly visible. In addition, these sensors will enable the vehicle to tackle complex environment, such as driving in rain or fog, in dark, or against the sunlight.

Second layer of redundancy - fallback G system

DiDi Gemini includes DiDi’s own ASIL-D rated fallback G system as part of its full fail-operational layout. The fallback G system can act as a back-up system to respond within milliseconds in the event of a primary systems’ failure to further improve safety.

Third layer of redundancy - remote safety assistance system

DiDi Gemini deploys four fisheye cameras on all sides of the vehicle, which can assist DiDi’s safety control center to achieve zero-distance and multi-view remote monitoring, to effectively implement remote assistance and implement low-latency remote control via 5G network.

Fourth layer of redundancy - Volvo XC90’s backup systems

Through a new strategic partnership with Volvo Cars, DiDi Autonomous Driving will first integrate DiDi Gemini in Volvo’s XC90 cars which are equipped with all necessary back-up systems for functions such as steering, braking and electric power. If any of the primary systems fails during a ride, the backup systems can act to bring the vehicle to a safe stop.

To enhance the overall passenger experience, DiDi Gemini also adds a welcome light strip and an interactive screen on the top of the vehicles. The interactive screen can display several modes including pedestrian walking mode, parking mode and backup system mode, to help nearby bystanders easily understand the status of the vehicles.