Didi Chuxing, Uber’s biggest competitor in China, started to test robot taxi fleet. In order to become China’s first large-scale self-driving taxi service, Didi is preparing to launch Level 4 autonomous vehicles in Shanghai.
The Shanghai government is also approaching this issue positively. Didi Chuxing CEO also announced that the autonomous taxi fleet was allowed to be tested. The announcement was made at the Shanghai World Artificial Intelligence Conference.
“Technology is important only when it adds value to people’s lives. We believe that granting ordinary citizens access to large-scale, autonomous fleets is key to achieving our common goal of shared security, efficiency and sustainability for future cities.” the company says.
In the beginning, there will be a human driver in Didi’s robot taxi fleet. Didi says, the fleet will have 30 different models of L4 autonomous vehicles. L4 (stands for Level 4); as defined by the National Road Traffic Safety Administration, basically means the vehicle is able to operate without any human intervention within a defined geographic area. This technology, which has not yet been publicly used by any automobile manufacturer, is very exciting. The exact launch date has not yet been announced.
Competition Is High
“Working together with our auto-industry partners, DiDi has the potential to be the first business to implement a large-scale robot taxi service in China,” said Zhang Bo, Didi’s CEO. Although Zhang identifies Didi as the first autonomous vehicle manufacturer, Baidu is the first in this field. Baidu, the first company to announce plans for self-driving taxi service, is preparing to launch its service in Changsha at the end of 2019.
Efforts for self-driving services continue uninterruptedly around the world. Uber recently announced its new automatic driving car. Waymo is one of the companies that is determined to move forward on this path. Elon Musk’s Tesla is also working for autonomous taxis.
It appears that the whole world will actively use autonomous cars in the near future. It is just a matter of time.