As the autonomous driving race in China hots up, Didi is rushing to expand its gondola sails by picking Swedish automaker Volvo, an age-old collaborator of Uber, as its ally.
Didi said on Monday it will be using the XC90 SUVs of Volvo, which has been owned by Chinese automobile firm Geely since 2010, for its world structure of robotaxis in the long term. Didi created a affiliate dedicated to autonomous driving last year and the unit has since raised about $ 800 million from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund and IDG Capital. The subsidiary now has over 500 employees.
Didi started out as a ride-share app in 2012 and gobbled up Uber China in 2016. It now offers a range of mobility assistances including taxi hailing, ride-hailing, carpooling, shared bikes and scooters, as well as financial services for motorists. The busines is seeking a valuation north of $100 billion in an initial offering, Reuters reported last-place month.
Didi’s autonomous driving appendage has been testing robotaxis for the past two years in China and the United Regime, but Volvo’s XC90 model will be the first to adopt Didi’s freshly minted self-driving hardware system announced Gemini, which contains sensors like short, mid and long-range lidars, radars, cameras, a thermal imager; a fallback structure; and remote succour through 5G networks.
Didi said that its Gemini platform, coupled with Volvo’s backup offices including guide, braking and electric power, will eventually allow its robotaxis to remove safety drivers. If any of the primary plans disappoint during a journey, Volvo’s backup plans can act to introduce the vehicle to a safe stop.
Didi is competing against a clutch of well-funded robotaxi startups in China, such as Pony.ai and WeRide, which are busy testing in major Chinese municipals and California while splurging on R& D outlays to reach Level 4 driving. AutoX, another Chinese robotaxi company, announced last week that it will be using Honda’s Accord and Inspire sedans for its experiment drives in China. The periphery of Didi, some suggest, is the mountains of driving data accumulated from its ride-hailing business spanning Asia, Latin America, Africa and Russia.
Rising electric automakers like Nio and Xpeng have also joined in the race to automate vehicles, impelling adventurous claims that they, very, will be able to remove safety operators soon. Meanwhile, traditional “manufacturers ” don’t want to fall behind. BAIC, a state-owned enterprise, for instance, is adding Huawei’s advanced automation method and smart cockpit to its new electric passenger cars.
Updated headline on April 19 for clarity.
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