Didi Chuxing, the popular Chinese ride-hailing company, has announced the launch of its autonomous driving services in the Huadu district of Guangzhou, Guangdong province. The move aims to tap into the rapidly growing market of autonomous vehicles in China.
Using WeChat’s mini-programs, customers can now ride in Didi’s autonomous vehicles and pay based on distance and usage time. According to Li Jian, an officer in charge of the company’s autonomous driving business, the vehicles have achieved multiple levels of safety by installing around 50 high-performance sensors in both onboard and remote assistance systems.
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Li added that Didi’s autonomous vehicles can identify traffic signs and lights up to 300 meters away by using laser radars, cameras, and radar configurations for long, medium, and short-range. The autonomous driving services have already covered office buildings, star hotels, scenic spots, schools, shopping centers, and residential areas in Huadu.
“We will continue to invest in Huadu and the entire urban area of Guangzhou to increase commercial operations and remote testing, further expanding our operating areas,” said Li.
The autonomous driving industry in China is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, with the market size of self-driving taxi services surpassing 1.3 trillion yuan ($188.8 billion) by 2030, according to a report by global consultancy IHS Markit.
Chinese tech companies, such as Baidu Inc, are striving to advance the technology and accelerate the commercial use of autonomous vehicles. Baidu has announced plans to put an additional 200 fully autonomous robotaxis into operation across the country this year and build the world’s largest fully driverless ride-hailing service area.
See also: Mobileye Boosts Autonomous Driving Focus in China with New Test Facility
In October, Ontime, a Chinese mobile transportation platform, became the first travel platform in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to offer dual operation robotaxis, using both manned and autonomous vehicles in Guangzhou’s Nansha district.
Didi’s entry into the autonomous driving market is a significant step for the company and the industry as a whole. As the technology continues to advance, it is likely that more companies will follow suit, leading to a new era of transportation in China and beyond.
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