Uber and Lyft might be the leading ride-hailing companies in the U.S. currently, but it seems that other companies are also making a foray into the market. Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing company is reportedly setting up a new lab at Mountain View, California, which will focus on intelligent driving systems, artificial-intelligence-based transport security and self-driving.
According to Recode, Didi wants to move its AI operations to California since it is gradually becoming a “Mecca of the self-driving industry” and has the talent pool available for the same.
Didi first gained recognition outside China when it acquired Uber’s China assets in August 2016. The company seems to be hot on Uber’s trail since it has also employed former Uber engineer Charlie Miller.
Miller joined Uber in 2015 and was known as the ‘Jeep Hacker’. He showcased how to remotely stop a jeep to Wired in July the same year. Miller will be supervising transport safety and security at Didi. Apparently, he isn’t the only employee who Didi poached — the company has also employed Jia Zhaoyin, former senior software engineer in charge of Google’s self-driving project Waymo, as its principal engineer.
Didi has also partnered with a nanodegree startup called Udacity for its self-driving program, at the end of which the company, along with others will get first pick of eligible graduates to hire. The two companies are reportedly launching $100,000 autonomous tech competition, which will require participants to create automated safety technology and four finalists will be chosen to run their code on Udacity’s test cars. The winners will take home $100,000 and get an opportunity to work at the Mountain View based Didi lab.
The self-driving industry is yet to make its offerings mainstream, yet many companies have shown interest in the emerging technology. Not just auto companies like Ford and GM, but even tech companies such as Nvidia and Apple are interested in the technology. When the cars will run on the roads, just like regular cabs is not yet known, but the year 2020 could probably be the year when the technology goes mainstream.
Read the course article at International Business Times.