Uber’s Chinese Partner Starts Testing Self-Driving Bikes

Self-driving cars are hitting the streets of China. Uber’s Chinese venture, Didi Chuxing, has started testing autonomous electric commuter bikes in Beijing. The city’s traffic and safety bureau says it permits companies to test…

Uber’s Chinese Partner Starts Testing Self-Driving Bikes

Self-driving cars are hitting the streets of China.

Uber’s Chinese venture, Didi Chuxing, has started testing autonomous electric commuter bikes in Beijing.

The city’s traffic and safety bureau says it permits companies to test 24 vehicles by June and 53 by December. They are supposed to obey traffic rules.

Transportation Vice Mayor Xu Yongsheng said on a government website that Didi’s robotaxis can transport people quickly and safely.

An Didi spokesman says the bike-sharing service will be integrated with Didi’s autonomous vehicles to cut costs and create better service, meaning that Didi drivers can make more money and that ride-hailing customers can avoid traffic jams.

Self-driving cars have faced public concern, as the vehicles turn over control to computers and remove the need for human drivers who are prone to accidents.

Didi launched ride-hailing services in 2011 and merged with Uber in 2016 to challenge Uber’s dominant position in the region.

The company had used its high-tech know-how and deep pockets to win new customers and pose a challenge to Uber.

Didi last year began testing the cars in Chengdu in southwestern China and planned to bring the service to several Chinese cities this year.

Didi said in January it was gearing up to develop self-driving cars, and said it expected to open a research center this year.

Uber has expanded into Southeast Asia and India.

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