Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing plans to start using self-driving vehicles to pick up passengers in a district of Shanghai city and hopes to expand the scheme outside China by 2021.
The service will allow passengers who hail a vehicle in the city’s Jiading district via Didi’s app to choose to be picked up by a self-driving car, the firm’s Chief Technology Officer Zhang Bo said at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference.
The cars will still be staffed with a human driver, he said, adding that more than 30 different types of car models will be offered in the pilot service, all equipped with so-called Level-4 autonomous driving capabilities.
All self-driving rides will be free of charge.
Zhang told reporters on Friday that Didi intends to go live with the service in a matter of months, but that it was waiting for some licences. The firm won permits from the Shanghai government to test its self-driving fleet on Wednesday.