Didi Chuxing (“DiDi”), one of the world’s biggest mobility apps, today announced the completion of the first fundraising round of over US$500 million for its autonomous driving subsidiary.
The investment is hoped to enable DiDi to continue its investment in advanced research and development of autonomous driving technology and testing, as well as deepen industry cooperation, and accelerate the deployment of autonomous driving services in specific areas in China and abroad.
DiDi first began to develop and test autonomous driving vehicles in 2016. In August 2019, DiDi upgraded its autonomous driving unit into an independent company. This is the first time for DiDi’s autonomous driving business to bring in external funding since its establishment. Led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, this is the single largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector.
With increased investments in autonomous driving, the firm 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. DiDi also plans to further deepen cooperation with global 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 in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou in China, as well as California in the U.S., including one of the first licences in Shanghai to pilot manned autonomous mobility services.
Image credits: DiDi