Uber rival Didi Chuxing opens Silicon Valley AI and self-driving lab

China’s largest ride hailing company Didi Chuxing has opened an AI lab in the US where engineers will focus on AI-based security and intelligent driving technologies.

Didi Labs will open up in Silicon Valley, in Mountain View, California to be precise. This move leaves Didi effectively stepping on Uber’s toes – after acquiring the Chinese division of the San Francisco-based transportation network in August.

CHENG Wei, founder, Chairman and CEO of Didi Chuxing, said: “Sweeping changes are taking place in the global transportation and automobile industries,” said Cheng Wei, founder, chairman and CEO of Didi Chuxing. “Didi has invested in five industry leaders around the world. Building on rich data and fast-evolving AI analytics, we will be working with cities and towns to build intelligent transportation ecosystems for the future.”

The research and development centre will be led Dr. Fengmin Gong, VP of Didi research institute, and will see ‘dozens of leading data scientists and researchers’ join the team, including former Uber researcher Charlie Miller.

Along with the announcement regarding the new lab, Didi has teamed up Udacity to challenge teams to create an automated safety and awareness processing stack (ASAPS) to improve safety metrics for human and self-driving vehicles. Five finalist teams will be given the chance to run their code on Udacity’s self-driving cars, work with Didi’s intelligent driving team, and win $100,000 (£82,318).