China’s popular ride-hailing app DiDi starts testing self-driving taxis1 min read . Updated: 29 Jun 2020, 06:19 AM IST
- Currently, the app is only serving a small geographic area of the city
- Initially, the company has deployed their own safety personnel to deal with emergency situations
Currently, the app is only serving a small geographic area of the city and users who have registered in advance on Didi's mobile app can use their smartphone to order a self-driving taxi. According to a report by IANS, this can only be possible as long as their points of departure and arrival are within the 53.6-km designated roads in Shanghai's Jiading District, Xinhua reported on Sunday.
The trial run for the new robotaxi began on Saturday. Initially, the company has deployed their own safety personnel to deal with emergency situations. The safety personnel will be able to take over the steering wheel when required. Also, the ride-hailing giant has set up a safety centre for monitoring the vehicle's operational status and provide remote assistance when necessary.
Zhang Bo, Chief Technology Officer of Didi, said the company will start by assigning orders to both human and robotic drivers as autonomous vehicles can only work in certain areas.
"Autonomous driving needs to move beyond being a novel but limited experience and become a reliable and efficient daily mobility option for the general public in a highly complex world," Zhang said.
The warm service of human drivers will not disappear due to the advent of self-driving technology, and new jobs will be created as the autonomous industry chain expands, said Cheng Wei, CEO of Didi.
Recently, e-commerce and tech behemoth, Amazon purchased a self-driving start up called Zoox in order to rival Google's Waymo. The self-driving technology was initially made popular by American company Tesla.