Didi Chuxing opens autonomous driving trials to public in Shanghai

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/27 18:38:18

Didi's self-driving car in Jiading District in Shanghai. Photo: Didi Chuxing

China's ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing on Saturday launched an autonomous vehicle project for passengers in Shanghai.

After registering on the Didi app and signing a consent form, users can call self-driving cars for rides within limited test areas for free in Shanghai's Jiading district. There will be a safety officer in every car as the project is still in the test phase.

Meng Xing, chief operating officer of Didi Chuxing's autonomous driving division, previously said Didi planned to operate more than 1 million autopilot vehicles on its platform by 2030 and would deploy auto-driving taxis in areas where Didi Chuxing has a shortage of vehicles.

Meng said that the cost of a self-driving car is currently 1 million yuan ($141,278), and will be reduced through technical alterations in the future, the Beijing News reported on Saturday.

Didi's self-driving car in testing area in Jiading District, Shanghai on June 27, 2020. Photo: Didi Chuxing

Didi officially launched self-driving research and development (R&D) tests in 2016. In August 2019, Didi upgraded its autonomous driving division to a company. 

In May this year, Didi announced that its autopilot company had completed its first round of financing, raising more than $500 million to increase investment in R&D testing, which was the largest single financing for a domestic autopilot company. 

Cheng Wei, CEO of Didi Chuxing, said that drivers will not disappear as they are valued for their welcoming services.

"It will take at least a decade for autonomous driving to mature from technology to business, and regulations and preparation [are needed] to face all kinds of difficulties and challenges, but the direction for the development of auto-driving is clear and firm," Cheng said.

Didi has thus far obtained road test qualifications in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou in China, and in California in the US. It was awarded the first license for manned autopilot vehicles in Shanghai last September.


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