DIDI ROBOTAXI SERVICE BEGINS OPERATION IN SHANGHAI
Beijing – Didi Chuxing’s on-demand robotaxi service will start picking up riders in Shanghai, China this week. Starting from June 27, upon sign-up through the main DiDi app, passengers may start requesting on-demand rides for free on autonomous vehicles within a designated open-traffic area that covers Shanghai’s Automobile Exhibition Center, the local business districts, subway stations and hotels in downtown Shanghai.
In addition to on-board mandatory safety drivers to help emergency response, DiDi also supports the pilot project with a safety control center, first of its kind in China, for real-time monitoring of vehicle and road conditions and enhanced remote command assistance designed to handle larger-scale autonomous fleet operations in the future. Key V2X hardware is deployed at main junctions within the test area to facilitate coordination among fleets and minimize safety blind spots.
Didi Chuxing is the world’s leading on-demand transportation and services platform, delivering over 10 billion trips per year in China, Japan, Australia and Latin America across a broad product offering that spans ride-hailing, taxi-hailing, two-wheelers, automobile solutions, food delivery, courier services, and others. DiDi’s autonomous driving subsidiary, now with a staff of over 400, was launched in 2016, and now holds testing licenses in California, the U.S. and key cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou. DiDi was the first company to obtain a passenger-carrying service license for its autonomous fleet in Shanghai.
“We will start with a mixed dispatch model that breaks out current geo-fence limitations,” said Bob Zhang Bo, CTO of DiDi and CEO of the autonomous driving unit. “Autonomous driving needs to move beyond being a novel but limited experience to become a reliable and efficient daily mobility option for the general public in highly complex real-world environment.”
Cheng Wei, Founder and CEO of DiDi, said: “AI in transportation will no doubt revolutionize safety and efficiency of the urban transit system. DiDi’s biggest strengths are in our rich use cases, data capabilities and a strongest long-term commitment to what we believe to be a clear direction of the future. It will be a long way and takes at least a decade of continued investment, before AV technology passes critical technology, business and regulatory milestones; but we are determined to tackle the challenges ahead.”
“We believe warm human driving service will be indispensable to the future mobility network, and new kinds of work and careers will emerge as the autonomous industry chain expands.”
DIDI COMPLETES OVER US$500 MILLION FUNDRAISING ROUND FOR ITS AUTONOMOUS DRIVING SUBSIDIARY LED BY SOFTBANK VISION FUND 2
>> The first fundraising round for DiDi’s autonomous driving business represents the single largest investment in China’s autonomous driving sector
>> DiDi will continue to focus on autonomous driving technology applications and next-generation integrated mobility solutions
Beijing – Didi Chuxing (“DiDi”), the world’s leading mobility and convenience platform, today announced the completion of the first fundraising round of over US$500 million for its autonomous driving subsidiary. The investment will enable DiDi to further enhance safety and efficiency by continuing its investment in advanced research and development of autonomous driving technology and testing, as well as deepen industry cooperation, and accelerate the deployment of autonomous driving services in specific areas in China and abroad.
DiDi first began to develop and test autonomous driving vehicles in 2016. In August 2019, DiDi upgraded its autonomous driving unit into an independent company. This is the first time for DiDi’s autonomous driving business to bring in external funding since its establishment. Led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, this is the single largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector.
With increased investments in autonomous driving, Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) systems and related AI capabilities, DiDi aims to launch autonomous fleet operations in select locations as China seeks to build a comprehensive digital infrastructure network based on 5G, AI and IoT technologies. DiDi also plans to further deepen cooperation with global upstream and downstream auto industry partners towards mass production of autonomous driving vehicles, with the aim of advancing the transformation of the global automotive and transportation industries.
In addition to building its own test fleets, DiDi will leverage the accumulated transportation data from its platform to run simulation tests, largely supplementing existing field test data volume. This will allow DiDi to improve the efficiency of research and development, and facilitate algorithm iteration. DiDi will also gradually apply its experience in safety and offline fleet management obtained from its ride hailing business to the testing and operations of its autonomous fleets in the future.
Currently, DiDi has open-road testing licenses in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou in China, as well as California in the U.S., including one of the first licenses in Shanghai to pilot manned autonomous mobility services. DiDi’s autonomous driving business is working with Xiaoju Automobile Solutions, DiDi’s one-stop auto solutions platform, and DiDi Finance to explore next-generation integrated mobility solutions, including smart charging networks, fleet maintenance service, as well as insurance programs for autonomous fleets.