People in Shanghai will someday no longer have to worry about being molested or murdered by their Didi Chuxing driver with China’s leading ride-hailing giant testing out its new fleet of self-driving taxis.
The vehicles are quite distinct-looking with a camera contraption sprouting out of the top of the car, allowing it a full 360-degree view of the surrounding area, ensuring that it will avoid all obstacles.
You can currently find the taxis driving around some streets in the suburban Shanghai district of Jiading. Those interested in an autonomous free ride can register for one via Didi’s app.
A “guide” will accompany you in the driver’s seat during your ride, just in case anything should go terribly wrong. The car’s max speed has been set at just 50 kilometers per hour.
Didi brags that the vehicles make some significant improvements compared to human drivers, including slowing down at zebra crossings and communicating with stoplights so that they know how much longer the light will stay green for and plan accordingly.
Human drivers have proven somewhat problematic for China’s ride-sharing leader in recent years with two cases of female passengersbeing murdered by their driversafter catching a ride via its Hitch carpooling service, a concern that will presumably disappear with robotaxis.
Still, Cheng Wei, the founder and CEO of Didi Chuxing, warns that it will still take at least a decade before autonomous vehicle technology is mature enough to go into widespread use.