Didi Chuxing, Chinese largest cab riding company has been given the go-ahead to test autonomous driving cars in California on May 10 according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ website.
The move has come in the wake of US rival Uber being given a suspension for its driverless car programme across North America after a fatal collision accident of a pedestrian early this March.
Additionally, the cab-hailing major is itself facing issues over safety concerns and has given a halt to is pooling service-Hitch for a week post-murder of one of its cab rider that created an outcry over Chinese social media.
Post the go-ahead with permits, Didi will become the 53rd company to receive a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California. The Chinese cab aggregator had opened its Silicon Valley office last year focusing on artificial intelligence and security. Its research facility in Mountain View has about 100 staff people.
Speculations and Rumours were floating in the market about Didi quietly testing vehicles in China and trying to take over Silicon Valley tech giants. The company faces head-on competition from Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, all of which are investing heavily in the technology.
Internet firm Baidu had also obtained its own permit to test driverless cars in California in 2016. It also established a research centre in San Francisco to boost its artificial intelligence efforts.
Meanwhile, Didi is actively developing its driverless fleet in partnership with a group of suppliers and carmakers that call themselves as Didi Auto Alliance. Its foreign partners in the alliance include prominent names such as Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and the China units of Toyota and Volkswagen.