Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global recently revealed its innovative robotaxi concept car, the “Didi Neuron,” at a virtual company event. This futuristic vehicle aims to enhance the passenger experience with robotic arms that can help carry luggage and retrieve items like water bottles. Here are the details…
Didi Global Introduces RoboTaxi “Didi Neuron”
Didi Autonomous Driving COO Meng Xing showcased the eye-catching blue and white vehicle, which is part of Didi’s ambitious plan to develop their own robotaxis in collaboration with local Chinese carmakers. The goal is to have these autonomous vehicles operational and integrated into Didi’s network by 2025.
Meng Xing emphasized Didi’s commitment to local production, stating, “We hope they will be domestically produced. We hope the supply chain is controllable, and even 90% of the key components inside can be domestically produced.”
The Didi Neuron concept car removes the need for a driver’s seat, providing more space for passengers. Its most distinctive feature, the robotic arms, highlights Didi’s dedication to offering innovative and convenient services. The company also unveiled a lidar sensor and a car computing device at the event, showcasing Didi’s progress in autonomous driving technology after nearly two years of overcoming regulatory challenges.
Didi’s journey into autonomous vehicles began in 2016. Since then, their AV unit has attracted significant investments from firms like IDG Capital and Guotai Junan. The company currently provides self-driving cars in select areas of Shanghai and Guangzhou through its main app, with Swedish carmaker Volvo, owned by Geely, supplying Didi’s autonomous fleet.
However, Didi has faced regulatory hurdles in recent years. In 2021, after the company proceeded with a U.S. stock listing against the wishes of Chinese regulators, it faced a cybersecurity investigation that led to the removal of its 25 mobile apps from app stores and the suspension of new user registration. Subsequently, Didi delisted from New York and received a $1.2 billion fine for data-security breaches. Fortunately, the company was allowed to resume new user registrations in January.
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