Didi Chuxing

Didi Chuxing plans to use this one advantage to crush its rivals in race for self-driving cars

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 7:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 10:54pm

Didi Chuxing is gearing up to absorb more public transportation data into its platform as the Chinese ride-sharing giant sees itself beating rival Uber Technologies in the race to commercialise self-driving cars.

“Didi is the best platform to commercialise self-driving cars because we have a lot of data generated by a huge number of ride-hailing users. Our platform can provide 20 million trips per day, which is much more than Uber provides,” said Zhang Wensong, senior vice president of Beijing-based Didi.

According to Zhang, self-driving cars can be quite expensive to use in the early stage. But Didi, which offers a full range of mobility options, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride-sharing, can lower costs by enabling people to carpool via its app.

Didi as well as other Chinese tech companies and carmakers are competing in autonomous driving with the likes of Google and Uber in the United States, Daimler in Germany and Nissan in Japan as automakers gear up to mass produce self-driving cars around 2020.

Enabled by artificial intelligence, industrial planners envision that cars will be able to learn how to drive, and can even drive more safely and efficiently than human beings.

Zhang said the company will work to get bus data online and may expand to cover subways in an effort to create a one-stop smart transportation platform.

Zhang was speaking in Beijing on Thursday, two weeks after Didi launched a Silicon Valley-based research institute to attract top global talent to advance intelligent driving technologies.

A dozen leading data scientists and researchers have joined the team, including former Uber employee Charlie Miller, one of the world’s foremost automobile security experts.

Four-year-old Didi, which has become China’s dominant ride-sharing company after buying out Uber’s domestic operations in August 2016, is facing stringent government regulations limiting the number of private cars and drivers it operates.

Didi warned its Beijing users on Wednesday that they may experience shortages in ride providers because of an April 1st ban on private cars and drivers from providing services on its platform if they cannot meet strict requirements set by the government.