China’s Didi Chuxing has announced the completion of the first fundraising round of over $500 million for its autonomous driving subsidiary. Didi says the investment will enable it to further enhance safety and efficiency by continuing its investment in advanced research and development of autonomous driving technology and testing.
Led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, this is the single largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector.
DiDi first began to develop and test AVs in 2016. In August 2019, DiDi upgraded its autonomous driving unit into an independent company.
In a press statement, Didi says: ‘With increased investments in autonomous driving, Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) systems and related AI capabilities, DiDi aims to launch autonomous fleet operations in select locations as China seeks to build a comprehensive digital infrastructure network based on 5G, AI and IoT technologies’.
It adds: ‘DiDi also plans to further deepen cooperation with global upstream and downstream auto industry partners towards mass production of autonomous driving vehicles, with the aim of advancing the transformation of the global automotive and transportation industries’.
Currently, DiDi has open-road testing licenses for AVs in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou in China, as well as California in the U.S., including one of the first licenses in Shanghai to pilot manned autonomous mobility services.