Didi’s auto driving team once appeared at the “world Artificial Intelligence Conference”. During the discussion at the round table forum, Cheng Wei, CEO of didi travel, said that he would accelerate the promotion of Didi’s auto driving manned test in Shanghai and invite ordinary users to participate in the experience.
Ten months later, on June 27, 2020, the large-scale manned demonstration application of Shanghai Intemet was launched, and didi opened its automatic driving service to the public for the first time.
At present, users can register online through didi app, and after the approval, they will be able to call the automatic driving vehicles for free in the test section of Shanghai automatic driving. This means that the application of automatic driving technology in real life has made new progress.
During the live broadcast on the same day, Zhang Bo, CEO of didi automatic driving company, said: when passengers issue tickets, Didi already knows the starting point, destination and route, so it can judge whether this road section is more suitable for automatic driving or human driving, and then realize mixed order distribution.
At present, Didi automatic driving manned test is limited to the open test road in Shanghai, which passes through the core areas such as automobile exhibition center, office area, subway station and hotel. Users can choose the starting and ending points within the scope of open roads through didi app to experience the automatic driving service for free.
In addition to providing safety officers to deal with emergencies, Didi has also set up the first automatic driving safety escort center in China, which can monitor the vehicle and road conditions in real time, and give assistance instructions when the vehicle is facing complex situations, so as to solve the possible remote assistance problems in the future automatic driving operation.
In some intersections of the test area, Didi has deployed a self-developed vehicle road collaboration solution, which can share road information to autonomous test vehicles of different companies in the area in real time, eliminating blind areas.
As for the development of automatic driving technology, Cheng Wei believes that “the warm service for drivers will not disappear due to the emergence of new technologies, and automatic driving will also create new jobs for online car Hailing drivers.”
From 0 to 1 in four years, the team will expand to 600 at the end of the year
In 2016, Didi began to set up an autonomous driving technology R & D team.
On August 5, 2019, Didi travel announced that its automatic driving department was upgraded to an independent company, focusing on automatic driving research and development, product application and related business development. Zhang Bo, the CTO of didi travel, is also the CEO of the new auto driving company, and Meng Xing, the former executive director of the fund, is the COO.
According to reports, Didi has comprehensively built a number of professional teams, including high-precision map, perception, behavior prediction, planning and control, infrastructure and simulation, data annotation, problem diagnosis, vehicle modification, cloud control and Internet of vehicles, vehicle road collaboration, information security, and has nearly 400 people in China and the United States.
It is understood that the vehicle used for didi automatic driving is Volvo’s XC60 model, with a cost of more than 300000 yuan. In addition to the vehicle cost, it also carries nearly 20 sensors, including one velodyne 64 line lidar, two velodyne 16 line lidars, seven cameras, millimeter wave radar and ultrasonic radar. These devices are even more valuable than the car itself. Meng Xing mentioned that the cost of Didi’s self driving vehicle is more than 1 million yuan per vehicle.
In fact, Didi has a natural advantage in automatic driving. According to Wei Junqing, Didi automatic driving is the only automatic driving company in the world with 100 billion km data. The on-board device orange TV, which is independently developed by Didi, covers more than 50% of the orders on didi platform.
Through the existing huge user data and operation data, Didi can seamlessly implant automatic driving in technology development and operation, thus accelerating the application deployment of the entire automatic driving industry. It is reported that didi can obtain nearly 100 billion kilometers of driving scene data every year, so as to realize the iteration of automatic driving algorithm.
At the same time, in the aspect of providing services for users in practical application, Didi’s automatic driving scheme is different from other AI companies, which has the property of scale delivery. For example, they have already considered the empty trunk, while the other AI companies’ self driving cars are often showcases, and their trunk is often filled with the computational framework that requires heat dissipation; in the interior, the interactive screen of passengers also approaches the complete scale plan.
This means that the manned demonstration of automatic driving is about to enter a large-scale stage. In addition, on May 29 this year, Didi just announced that its autopilot company has completed the first round of financing of over US $500 million, which is the largest single financing for domestic autopilot companies. Up to now, Didi has obtained the road test qualification of Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, California, etc., and obtained the first batch of manned demonstration application license issued by Shanghai in September last year.
The arrival of the automatic driving service in Shanghai marks Didi’s breakthrough from 0 to 1 in only four years.
It is worth mentioning that, on July 6, according to a report by Bloomberg, Didi plans to employ as many as 200 employees this year to strengthen its automatic driving department and speed up the expansion of its automatic driving taxi service in Shanghai and other regions.
Meng Xing, chief operating officer of didi travel, said the automatic driving department will have 500 to 600 employees by the end of this year.
Travel companies pay more attention to safety
In CCTV news’s 2-hour live broadcast of the whole process of self driving online car hailing in the open road experience, it happened to encounter heavy rain in Shanghai. The heavy rain is also a big challenge for Didi’s automatic driving experience. At the same time, it can truly show the scene of automatic driving experience. Overall, in the process of live broadcast, Didi automatic driving network runs smoothly and orders are received normally.
At present, the automatic driving technology can be used in a small area. Rainy days, night and extreme scenes are the problems that the global automatic driving companies need to solve continuously. In rainy weather, the test of automatic driving vehicles is mainly divided into several aspects. For lidar, raindrops, water on the ground and splashing water may cause noise, which is equivalent to poor vision of the “driver”. It needs algorithms to effectively remove these noise, otherwise it is easy to cause all kinds of emergency braking.
In addition, the rainy days affect the grip of vehicle tires, and higher requirements for the automatic driving system control system are put forward. When there is water on the ground, the positioning accuracy will become worse. It is a long tail situation for pedestrians to take umbrellas in rainy days, which requires good training data coverage and sufficient algorithm redundancy to ensure recognition.
In order to ensure the travel safety in the process of automatic driving to the greatest extent, the automatic driving test vehicle is equipped with safety officers according to relevant regulations. The safety officers can take over the vehicle at any time to deal with emergencies.
According to Meng Xing, Didi automatic driving is born out of travel companies and may pay more attention to safety issues. Therefore, it can be found that the didi automatic driving car was accompanied by two people, one was a safety driver, and the other was a safety guide.
The division of labor between the two people is different. The safety driver is mainly responsible for the safety of the automatic driving vehicle. In some extreme cases, he will take over the vehicle in time to ensure the safety of the passengers. The safety guide mainly communicates with the passengers in the process of demonstration application, so that the passengers can get familiar with the automatic driving faster.
“The safety officer behind the steering wheel is the coach of the car,” Meng said. The security officer sitting in the co driver’s seat will see the situation of the automatic driving network car Hailing system through the computer in front of him, and compare it with the actual road conditions, such as whether there is a lane line that is not displayed. When the co driver’s safety officer judges that there may be an accident, he will use a set of internal communication words to remind the safety officer in the main driver. “
Cheng Wei: continuous investment for at least ten years
Although the landing of didi autopilot in Shanghai this time makes it possible for users to truly experience the autopilot technology, robotaxi still has a long way to go from large-scale commercialization.
Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of didi travel, said, “we believe that eventually AI technology will greatly improve driving safety and efficiency, and benefit mankind. Didi’s biggest advantage is scene, data and firm determination to invest. At the same time, we also believe that from mature technology, mature business to mature laws and regulations, autonomous driving has a long way to go. At least we need to make a ten-year plan for continuous investment and be prepared to face all kinds of difficulties and challenges, but the direction is clear and firm. “
Ford CEO Mark fields has also said that automatic driving will define the next decade and have a great impact on society.
It is worth mentioning that didi has just celebrated its eighth birthday, and the arrival of Didi’s automatic driving service in Shanghai is undoubtedly the best birthday gift. At the same time, it also marks that Didi’s accelerated development in the field of automatic driving technology will officially start from Shanghai.
Editor in charge: PJ