Didi Chuxing—ride-hailing services provider in China (similar to Uber)—revealed last week about its plans to introduce a robotaxi service in Shanghai, where customers can hail autonomous cars from the app.
The company will deploy vehicles with level four autonomous driving levels in Shanghai’s district, Jiading. The autonomous vehicle fleet will include thirty different models. Both autonomous and manually handled vehicles will be operating under Didi’s pilot project.
It is the most recent company to reveal a robotaxi pilot project as China focuses to boost its artificial intelligence (AI) sector development, which includes autonomous cars. China keeps an eye to become the global leader in AI by the next decade.
Not only Didi but also tech giant Baidu is preparing to introduce a robotaxi service in Changsha, while Pony.ai is working on a similar project in Guangzhou.
Even the US is putting efforts to acquire the throne in AI development. Google subsidiary Waymo has joined forces with Lyft—ride-hailing services provider—to offer rides in autonomous vehicles in Phoenix. On the other hand, Tesla is also planning to bring robotaxis on the streets in the next year.
On a related note, Uber and Lyft are urging to prevent the pass of Assembly Bill 5. If the bill is passed, then both the companies would have to make their independent contract drivers W-2 employees. To avoid such situation, the ride-hailing services providers, each putting $30 Million to fund ballot initiative 2020, which would permit them to retain their drivers as independent contractors, first reported by The New York Times.
Other companies are also in talks to join the ballot initiative. The campaign committee formed shortly after Lyft and Uber urged passengers and drivers to discuss with their legislators. Both the companies have supported the policy of offering $21 per hour to their drivers while on a trip.
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