Driverless cars will need cities covered in sensors, China’s Didi Chuxing says

For its part, Didi is developing autonomous vehicles on two fronts, said Liu.

First, by installing sensors in vehicles that can sense the environment on the road, detect objects, plan travel routes and ultimately, control the cars. The second front is what he described as “cooperative vehicle-highway systems” that rely more on the environment — that means having sensors installed on roads, buildings, lamp posts and the surrounding areas to provide relevant information to self-driving cars.

“The main difference is that we not only have the vehicle sensing capability, we’re also going to have a roadside sensing capability, so we will be able to provide the autonomous vehicles with environment information, from the infrastructure side,” he said.