Didi’s autonomous taxis take to the streets

@ 2020/06/30
Still having human "safety" drivers

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing launched a test robotaxi service in a Shanghai suburb on Saturday after installing V2X (Vehicle to Everything) hardware throughout the area.

Under the test, customers within a designated area will be able to hire free on-demand rides using Didi’s autonomous vehicles, which currently 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 minimize safety blind spots and coordinate communication among its fleet, it said.

TMeng Xing, the chief operating officer of Didi’s autonomous driving unit 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.

A broader rollout of V2X equipment to improve the use autonomous vehicles would require coordination with government, Meng told Reuters in an interview.

Didi chief executive 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.

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