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Didi receives greenlight to begin testing self-driving cars in California

Tyrone Stewart

Didi LabsChinese ride hailing firm Didi Chuxing has become the latest company to be given the nod to test self-driving cars in California.

According to an update on the State of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which was first reported on by the Financial Times, Didi has been granted a permit to begin testing self-driving cars as long as a driver is present.

The owner of Uber China joins the likes of Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Alphabet’s Waymo, Ford, BMW, Honda, Lyft, Tesla, Intel, and more as one of the 53 companies with permits to test autonomous vehicles in the state.

Didi’s move comes not long after its US rival Uber was forced to suspend its self-driving car tests right across the country following a fatal accident with a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona in March. It was found that Uber’s driverless car software did detect the woman but chose to ignore her after identifying the pedestrian as a ‘false positive’ – or something that did not pose a threat like a plastic bag.

Didi opened its AI and self-driving lab in California in March 2017 with cyber security industry executive Gong Fengmin at the helm and former Uber researcher Charlie Miller also on the team – though Miller joined General Motors-owned Cruise Automation just six months later. The company has been testing autonomous vehicles in China for several months.