Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, launched a test robotaxi service in a Shanghai suburb on Saturday after installing Vehicle to Everything (V2X) hardware throughout the area.
- Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing launched a test robotaxi service in a Shanghai suburb over the weekend
- The launch came after the company installed Vehicle to Everything (V2X) hardware in the area
- Didi has just completed a $500 million fundraising round for its autonomous driving unit
Under the test, customers within a designated area will be able to hire free on-demand rides using Didi’s autonomous vehicles, which currently also have safety drivers, the company said.
V2X enables autonomous vehicles (AVs) to communicate with their surroundings and Didi has installed equipment at major junctions within the test area to minimise safety blind spots and coordinate communication among its fleet, it said.
The equipment will mainly be used by Didi’s own cars, although cars operated by other autonomous driving companies could also link up to the system, said Meng Xing, the chief operating officer of Didi’s autonomous driving unit.
A broader rollout of V2X equipment to improve the use autonomous vehicles would require coordination with government, Meng told the news agency Reuters in an interview.
Didi’s CEO Cheng Wei said the company expected greater use of artificial intelligence to revolutionise safety and efficiency of the urban transit system.
However, it would take at least a decade of continued investment before AV technology passed critical technology, business and regulatory milestones, he said in a statement.
Didi last month completed a more than $500 million fundraising round for its autonomous driving unit, which has more than 400 staff globally.
It is using vehicles with the Volvo, Lincoln and BYD marques in the current test.
Baidu Inc started offering a robotaxi service in China’s southern city of Changsha this year.
Via our content partners at Reuters. Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh. Editing by Richard Pullin.