Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing won approval by the Shanghai municipal government to test its automated vehicle fleet in the city’s suburban Jiading district.
Didi will deploy 30 vehicles with Level 4 autonomous driving capability as part of a taxi service in Jiading. Passengers can use Didi’s app to hail self-driving vehicles under the pilot program, Didi said.
However, because of complex local traffic and road conditions, it will continue to dispatch vehicles with human drivers in Jiading, Didi said.
Didi, the dominant ride-hailing service provider in China, has taken a series of steps to develop its autonomous driving business.
In 2017, it opened a lab in Mountain View, Calif., to explore and adopt artificial intelligence for self-driving vehicles. Last year, it received permission from local regulators to test self-driving vehicles in California and the Chinese capital of Beijing.
The Beijing-based company last month separated its autonomous driving unit into an independent company.
“Working with our auto-industry partners, Didi has the potential to become the first business to realize large-scale robo-taxi service in China,” Zhang Bo, Didi’s chief technology officer and head of its autonomous driving subsidiary, said at an international conference on artificial intelligence in Shanghai last week.