(Reuters) — China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing aims to operate more than 1 million self-driving cars through its platform by 2030, an executive said on Tuesday.
Didi is developing autonomous driving technologies and plans to deploy robotaxis in areas with a shortage of ride-hailing cars, said Meng Xing, chief operating officer of the company’s autonomous driving unit, at an online conference hosted by South China Morning Post.
The company last month completed a more than $500 million fundraising round for the autonomous driving unit, led by SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund 2.
In 2019, Didi said it would start using autonomous vehicles to pick up passengers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen this year before expanding the scheme outside China in 2021.
Automakers and tech companies in China are investing billions in the autonomous driving industry to compete with the likes of Tesla, Alphabet, Waymo, and Uber.
While some industry insiders say it will take time for the public to trust autonomous vehicles fully, Meng said Didi, which is developing autonomous cars with China’s BAIC Group (BEJINS.UL), expects autonomous vehicles to be in mass production by 2025.
WeRide, a startup based in Guangzhou, is operating a fleet of more than 40 robotaxis, plus a further 60 test cars. The three-year-old company is backed by Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi.
Baidu started offering a robotaxi service in China’s southern city of Changsha this year.
(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh, editing by David Goodman.)