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Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi plans to launch a robotaxi service in Shanghai

Key Points
  • Didi Chuxing, China's version of Uber, announced plans to launch a robotaxi service in Shanghai where users will be able to hail driverless cars from the app.
  • The ride-hailing company will deploy 30 different models of so-called level four autonomous vehicles in the Jiading District of Shanghai.
  • Didi's pilot project will combine both autonomous vehicles and human-driving vehicles for the duration of the project.
Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing shows off its autonomous vehicle fleet during the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, China in August 2019.
Didi

Didi Chuxing, China's version of Uber, announced plans to launch a robotaxi service in Shanghai where users will be able to hail driverless cars from the app.

The ride-hailing company will deploy 30 different models of so-called level four autonomous vehicles in the Jiading district of Shanghai. Level four self-driving cars have a high degree of autonomy but a driver can still manually take control.

Didi's pilot project will combine both autonomous vehicles and human-driving vehicles for the duration of the project.

It's the latest company to announce a robotaxi pilot project as China tries to push development of its artificial intelligence (AI) industry, which includes driverless cars. China wants to become the world leader in AI by 2030.

Didi is not the first. 

Technology giant Baidu is gearing up to launch a robotaxi service in Changsha later this year, while Pony.ai is carrying out its own project in the Nansha district of Guangzhou.

In the U.S., Google spinoff Waymo has teamed up with ride-hailing service Lyft to offer riders the option of a driverless car in Phoenix. Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company should have robotaxis on the roads in 2020.

Didi was granted permits to test autonomous vehicles in Shanghai on Wednesday. The company did not reveal a timeline for launching the pilot project.

Earlier this month, the company made its driverless car unit an independent company.

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