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DiDi Chuxing robotaxi service starts operation in Shanghai
Na Qing/Editor: Darcy Littler
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DiDi Chuxing robotaxi service starts operation in Shanghai

Feature photo: A passenger picked up by a Didi autonomous vehicle in Shanghai. Source: Beijing Xiaoju Technology Co, Ltd.

From 27 June, passengers in Shanghai can take a free ride on a robotaxi on designated test roads in the Eastern area of the city, which is  fully covered by 5G.

This service is available for current DiDi users whose points of departure and arrival are no more than 53.6 km within the trial area of Jiading district.

Passengers who want to experience the self-driving service need to apply on DiDi Chuxing's mobile app. The robotaxi service will be available to applicants who meet certain criteria.

Upon pick up, passengers will be asked to sign an agreement with terms and conditions that include giving consent to this trial experience, as well as acknowledging that the journey may be subject to cancellation depending on weather conditions and the potential risks.

To start a journey, passengers will need to scan a code that is shown on a pad installed on the back of the front seat, using the  DiDi mobile app, to confirm their identity.

Throughout the trial stage, there are two safety personnel deployed in each robotaxi who will be able to take over the operation when required.

According to Zhang Bo, Chief Technology Officer of DiDi, at this stage, DiDi is providing a blended ride-hailing service with both maned and autonomous driving available for customers, which fills the gap in areas where the self-driving service is not yet accessible.

Cheng Wei, CEO of DiDi, said investment (in this technology) will be continued for at least ten years. He also said, "Self-driving services will create more employment with demand for roles such as safety personnel and data recorders."

Since 2016, the riding-hail giant with an automatic driving development team that consists of nearly 400 members at home and in the United States,  has been given a green light to road tests in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou in China and California in America. It was also issued Shanghai's First ICV Application Demonstration License last year.

Na Qing/Editor: Darcy LittlerQing Na

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