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Didi Chuxing's autonomous driving unit now independent company

Didi Chuxing has announced that it has upgraded its autonomous driving unit into an independent company.

Didi Chuxing has announced that it has upgraded its autonomous driving unit into an independent company.

The new autonomous driving company will conduct research and development, product application and business development. 

The name of the new company has not been disclosed. 

Zhang Bo, Didi's chief technology officer, will head the new autonomous driving company as its chief executive officer.

Didi’s autonomous driving team was established in 2016. It has grown to a comprehensive research and development team covering areas including high-definition mapping, planning and control, connected car and other fields. 

With more than 200 staff in total, it is developing and testing autonomous driving vehicles in China and the United States. 

The company will integrate the resources and technological advantages of Didi’s platform, continue to increase investment in research and development and deepen collaboration with automakers and industry partners. 

Didi said that it will apply its experience and understanding of safe operations in the ride-hailing sector to autonomous driving operations. The company will work with transportation authorities and all related parties to explore safety standards for autonomous driving operations.  

Cheng Wei, chairman and chief executive officer of Didi, said: “Autonomous driving will greatly enhance the safety and efficiency of travel and help cities be smarter and more sustainable. 

"In the future, people’s transportation needs in different scenarios will be met by the combination of seamless autonomous driving technology and human driving services that are indispensable for their quality and warmth.”

In July this year, media reported that Didi Chuxing was in talks with its largest shareholder SoftBank and other potential investors about raising fresh capital for its autonomous driving business. 

The discussions aren’t finalized and may not necessarily result in a deal, according to media named The Information. Didi did not make any response.

In September last year, Didi Chuxing received license plates issued by the Beijing Municipal Government to test its autonomous driving vehicles on road. 

In February 2018, Didi Chuxing released a demonstration video. A smart vehicle is shown completing turning and avoiding obstacles and other vehicles with the use of map positioning and sensing. 

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