Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing today announced the completion of the first fundraising round of over $500 million for its autonomous driving subsidiary. The investment will be used in enhancing safety and efficiency by continuing its investment in advanced research and development of autonomous driving technology and testing, as well as deepening industry cooperation, and accelerating the deployment of autonomous driving services in specific areas in China and abroad.
DiDi first began to develop and test autonomous driving vehicles in 2016. In August 2019, DiDi upgraded its autonomous driving unit into an independent company. This is the first time for DiDi’s autonomous driving business to bring in external funding since its establishment. Led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, this is the single largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector.
In addition to building its own test fleets, the company said it would leverage the accumulated transportation data from its platform to run simulation tests, largely supplementing existing field test data volume. This will allow DiDi to improve the efficiency of research and development, and facilitate algorithm iteration. DiDi will also gradually apply its experience in safety and offline fleet management obtained from its ride hailing business to the testing and operations of its autonomous fleets in the future.
Currently, DiDi has open-road testing licenses in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou in China, as well as California in the U.S., including one of the first licenses in Shanghai to pilot manned autonomous mobility services. DiDi’s autonomous driving business is working with Xiaoju Automobile Solutions, DiDi’s one-stop auto solutions platform, and DiDi Finance to explore next-generation integrated mobility solutions.
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