On September 26, Didi’s autonomous driving unit was granted a road test license by the Public Security Bureau of Suzhou, a major city in China’s Jiangsu province. The license allows Didi to carry out open road tests of autonomous vehicles (AV) in the Suzhou area. It is reported that the Chinese ride-hailing giant already has an R&D team in Suzhou, and is actively conducting related research work.
Didi has already received permits for AV road tests in California, Beijing and Shanghai. On September 26, Didi was among three companies – the other two being SAIC and BMW – to be granted the first batch of licenses allowing manned tests in a city environment with real customers in Shanghai.
Didi’s main competitor in the field of autonomous driving, Baidu, has also received a similar license for tests with real users. The company announced on September 26 that it has launched a fleet of 45 so-called Robotaxis in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.
Didi Chuxing’s autonomous driving division was converted into a separate company in early August 2019. Zhang Bo, CTO of Didi, was named the CEO of the new enterprise, with Wei Junqing, former Vice President of Engineering of Aptive Mobility Group, becoming the CTO.