DiDi autonomous taxi fleet to launch in China

Forget rideshare services where there’s an actual driver behind the wheel, because autonomous robo-taxi services are set to launch soon.

Chinese rideshare company DiDi Chuxing is behind the latest push towards driverless cars in rideshare land, having showcased a new autonomous robo-taxi it plans to launch imminently on public roads.

DiDi Chuxing says it will allow passengers to hail self-driving vehicles as part of a pilot to launch in Shanghai, with the city’s government permitting DiDi to deploy 30 level-four autonomous vehicles in Jiading District. The pilot program will have a mix of completely autonomous and human-driven vehicles during the pilot.

The company’s founder and CEO, Cheng Wei, told audiences at the Shanghai World Artificial Intelligence Conference the technology is imminent.

Technology only has worth when it brings value to people’s lives. We believe giving ordinary citizens access to large-scale, shared autonomous fleets is key to achieving our shared goal of safety, efficiency and sustainability for future cities,” said Mr Cheng.

Hailing an autonomous car works exactly the same way as if you were doing so with an Uber, Ola or DiDi today – call up the app on your smartphone, hail a ride to your desired destination, and jump onboard.

The cars being used for the program are Lincoln MKZ luxury sedans.