Another brick in the Chinese wall of AV is Didi Chuxing's new partnership with Chinese automaker BAIC. The deal is aimed to design an autonomous vehicle body and create a new hybrid service, where automakers and rideshare companies work in collaboration to provide a new market for cars. It is possible that in the near future, auto companies and rideshare companies will create a joint subsidiary that will be a one-stop shop for rides, where the companies both manufacture and provide the car for rides via the rideshare app, removing the necessity to sell cars to taxi and other transportation services.
Didi will be active in helping BAIC design the cars, providing expert design engineering concepts based on rideshare experience. Didi has been active in the AV race, and has a satellite development lab in the US, but tests all of its research in China. Didi's Founder and CEO Cheng Wei stated that "Shared mobility, new energy vehicle networks and new AI [artificial intelligence] driving technologies are integrally linked to each other." Wei was supported by BAIC Chairman Xu Heyi, who stated that working with Didi will "be a bellwether to serve the public with intelligent networking EVs and mobility services." BAIC is a Chinese government company owned by the Beijing municipal government.
Another interesting update about BAIC is Germany automaker Daimler announces on Thursday that it has bought a 3.9 percent stake in BAIC.
China is the worlds leading car market, and Didi performs over 20 million rides a day, which is about $7 billion a year. Didi is actually helping the Chinese transportation issues by reducing the number of cars with rideshare solutions in a country where traffic is consolidated in all cities and is a major issue. Also, many young Chinese prefer to rideshare rather than buy a car.
A recent push by the Chinese government is to transfer gas technology to electric, which would help solve some of China's dependencies oil producing countries.
The collaboration of Didi and BAIC will definitely help solve many issues, as it will consolidate the automating process into a streamlined from production belt to passenger seat belt, and reduce a lot of middlemen infrastructure, as well as help, reduce congestion. The deal with BAIC comes after Didi sealed deals with 12 other car makers including Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance and Kia to supply cars for their rideshare app.