Didi trials in-car audio recording in wake of passenger deaths

Tyrone Stewart

Didi Chuxing appChinese ride hailing giant Didi Chuxing is putting measures in place to improve the safety of its services following the killings of two passengers over the last few months.

Didi has begun trialling in-car recording, which will record all audio from the entirety of journeys and upload the files to the company’s servers for a week before being deleted if a complaint hasn’t been made about that specific journey. This service will require both passengers and drivers to provide authorisation.

In addition, the firm is upgrading an in-car panic button with a link directly to the police and is introducing more stringent background checks of drivers by using risk assessment based on big data and facial recognition.

In order to implement these changes, Didi has suspended services between 11pm and 5am until 15 September.

Last month, a Didi driver confessed to the rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman in the city of Wenzhou. This followed a similar incident back in May where a 21-year-old woman was alleged to have been raped and killed by an unregistered Didi driver in Zhengzhou.

Alongside news of the changes to be made, it was revealed that Didi has not made a profit in the six years since it was founded, losing 4bn yuan ($585m/£453m) in the first half of this year.

“Didi is by no means an evil company, and would never prioritise generating profit above anything else,” said Didi founder and chief executive Cheng Wei in a letter to employees seen by the South China Morning Post. “We have not been profitable over the past six years.”