Chinese Uber competitor Didi Chuxing has secured permission to test self-driving cars in the state of California, according to CNBC.
The ride-hailing company from China is permitted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicles in the state as of May 10, 2018. The California venture will aid the company's plans to launch self-driving cars in America, a market that is seeing fierce competition.
American Autonomous Cars Space
The U.S. self-driving card market is already crowded, with participants having varying levels of success so far.
Internet giant Baidu Inc. (ADR) (BIDU) secured a permit to test self-driving cars in California in 2016, which was accompanied by the company's building a research center in San Francisco to enhance its artificial intelligence technology that forms an integral part of autonomous car technology. Other Chinese giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) and Tencent also have plans to develop and test autonomous vehicles.
Other dominant names include Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo, Qualcomm, and Nvidia.
Multiple other test ventures have been ongoing during the last three years. They includes Swedish automaker Volvo AB signing a $300 million partnership with Uber to develop an autonomous vehicle, Israel-based Mobileye NV and Delphi Automotive PLC having joint plans to launch self-driving vehicles, and leading American automobile manufacturer Ford Motor Co. (F) aiming to launch self-driving cars by 2021.
However, success has been difficult to achieve. Efforts by Uber hit a roadblock earlier this year when one of its self-driven cars hit a pedestrian in Arizona. Uber’s trial has been suspended since then. Popular EV-maker Tesla Inc. (TSLA) has also faced challenges in autonomous vehicles, as a few crashes have been reported for its cars. (See also, Nvidia Halts Self-Driving Car Tests After Uber Mishap.)
Didi Chuxing Continues Global Expansion
Didi Chuxing made news when it bought Uber's Chinese ride-sharing unit in August 2016, making Didi the dominant player in the most populous nation. The company continues to expand across the globe through two standard models – either investing in the existing players or by partnering with competitors. In Brazil, it acquired a controlling stake in a taxi start-up called 99 Taxi earlier this year. Other global ventures of Didi include a partnership with Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based Careem and Estonia-based Taxify. Last month, it launched its service in the Mexican city of Toluca where it competes head-on with Uber.
The company is reported to be planning for an initial public offering (IPO), which is expected to hit a valuation in the range of $70 billion to $80 billion. (See also, Self Driving Cars Behind $7 Trillion Market by 2050.)