China’s DiDi Chuxing to Test Robo-Taxi Service

DiDi Chuxing Technology Co., China’s largest ride-hailing company, plans to launch a robo-taxi pilot program in Shanghai later this year.

The company received permission earlier this week to test autonomous vehicles in Shanghai. The pilot program, which will be free to riders, will include a fleet of 30 Level 4 self-driving cars with backup drivers onboard.

DiDi aims to expand tests to Beijing and Shenzhen next year and commercialize the service in 2021. Earlier this month the company spun off its autonomous driving operations to bolster investment in the unit.

Several other companies also plan to test robo-taxis in China. Tech giant Baidu is launching a service in Changsha later this year, while startup Pony.ai is partnering with Toyota on programs in Beijing and Shanghai.