AI pushing transport development
Artificial intelligence is expected to help transport companies and connected car software providers with new abilities to push forward industry development, industry executives told the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai.
Passengers will be able to hail autonomous driving vehicles "in the near future" and Didi will speed up test driving of autonomous cars with passengers onboard in Shanghai, said Cheng Wei, Didi's CEO.
Artificial intelligence has been a driving force for its security measures to ensure passenger, vehicle and driver safety, he noted.
In the first half, traffic accidents for vehicles operating on Didi's platform were 15 percent lower than a year earlier after various of measures to step up traffic safety.
Didi is showcasing pilotless taxi hailing with its autonomous driving fleet on a closed track at the WAIC.
Passengers will be able to hail self-driving vehicles from its app in a pilot taxi service in Shanghai's Jiading District.
Didi will deploy 30 different models of L4 autonomous driving vehicles and the program will be a mixed dispatching model, combining both autonomous driving vehicles and human-driven vehicles given the complex traffic and road conditions in the city.
“Working with our auto-industry partners, Didi has the potential to become the first business to realize a large-scale pilotless taxi service in China,” said Zhang Bo, chief technology officer of Didi and CEO of Didi’s autonomous driving company.
Artificial intelligence capabilities have been helping to detect whether drivers are fatigue after long hours of driving, and also offer tailor-made reports to improve safety based on each driver's different habits.
"The application of AI technologies in the transportation area would greatly reduce the fatality and accident rate in the long run," Cheng Wei told an industry forum during the WAIC.
"But we still urge passengers to put on safety belts to reduce casualties in case of accidents despite progress in AI technologies," he added.
Connected car software has also been gaining attention with more AI-enabled Internet of Things functions turning bikes and vehicles into smart devices as well.
A latest version of Banma Network's in-car operation system is on display at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center which allows facial recognition of drivers, augmented reality mapping and navigation, robotic assistance and car chat to allow car owners to send voice or text from voice-assistant-enabled steering wheels.
Some of the functions have been deployed on the newly launched Roewe RX5 MAX model and will also be put in other vehicle brands.
Alibaba Group is also strengthening smart vehicle investment by holding a majority stake in connected vehicle service provider Banma Network, a joint venture between the e-commerce giant and SAIC Motor Corp.
Alibaba's YunOS has already been used in SAIC models as well as car brands such as Chang'an Ford, Skoda, Qoros and Baojun.
Shanghai-headquartered Hello Bike is showcasing how urban transport management is powered by artificial intelligence. The Ant Financial-backed public bike rental company is using bluetooth and visual detection to help manage traffic situations.
It's also using AI to dispatch bikes and operation and maintenance staff to areas where more bikes are needed during peak hours.
Its electronic dock feature also reminds users of putting bikes in designated areas and to alert traffic authorities of irregularities to avoid overcrowding at bike parking spaces.