With hopes to expand the program abroad, ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing reportedly intends to tap into self-driving vehicles to pick up riders in a part of Shanghai. The offering will let passengers who ask for a ride in the district of Jiading to choose a self-driving car, Reuters reported.
The vehicles, however, will have a human driver. And over 30 various types of car models will come with the experimental service. (All will reportedly have Level-4 autonomous driving abilities.) Self-driving trips, too, are said to come without a charge.
Didi is reportedly looking to have the robotaxis in Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai by 2020 and is said to be looking to launch abroad in the following year. Didi noted that it had spun off its unit for autonomous driving into an independent company that will aim to deepen automaker collaboration as well as home in on research.
Tech companies like Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, China’s Baidu Inc. and traditional automakers have been working to have fully commercial self-driving vehicles on roads. Even so, some firms have experienced the expense as well as the difficulty of creating self-driving cars that can predict and respond to humans in areas that are city environments.
In separate news, Waymo reportedly plans to test autonomous vehicles in rainy conditions in Florida. The company, which is owned by Google’s parent firm Alphabet, will take in data and test how the sensors of the cars handle the rain. The vehicles will be driven by trained Waymo drivers.
“Heavy rain can create a lot of noise for our sensors. Wet roads also may result in other road users behaving differently,” the company said in a blog post. “Testing allows us to understand the unique driving conditions, and get a better handle on how rain affects our own vehicle movements, too.”
The autonomous car company has two self-driving vehicles: a Jaguar I-Pace and the Chrysler Pacifica, both of which will be tested in Miami and Naples.