The Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has successfully connected application of autonomous driving technology with mobility options within its Shanghai test area, according to Yicai, a Chinese financial information platform.
Didi’s staffs at the scene demonstrated the whole process from requesting a self-driving vehicle to picking up passengers.
Global ride-hailing companies including Didi, Uber and Lyft are actively engaged in development of autonomous driving technology, as they plan to integrate autonomous driving and shared mobility so as to gain from the commercialization of the new technology.
Waymo, originating as a self-driving car project of Google, announced a cooperation with Lyft in May to provide 10 Waymo autonomous driving cars for Lyft’s users to ride in Phoenix, Arizona. Passengers can directly use Lyft app to call those driverless vehicles.
Follow footsteps of Waymo and Uber, Didi focuses on technology development and partners with car manufacturers, rather than make cars on its own. Earlier this year, Didi spun off its autonomous driving department as a new company that aims to accelerate commercialization process of self-driving technology through partnering with carmakers. For this purpose, Didi has accumulated a mass of road test data in the U.S. and China.
In China, the company’s biggest rival Baidu claimed it would test commercial operation of autonomous driving taxi fleet in Changsha, a city in the middle of China, in the second half of this year.
When asked about future depiction of self-driving commercialization, Didi’s chief technology officer Zhang Bo (张博) said it would be a mixed model consisting of both drivers and driverless vehicles within 10 years. Ride-hailing companies still need to assign some orders that cannot be completed by self-driving vehicles to drivers. For now, full commercialization of driverless vehicles has a long way to go.