Didi tests in-car video and audio recording for passengers’ ride safety

Didi, recently in the swamp of passenger safety concerns, is testing in-car video recording.

Reported by local media iyiou.com (in Chinese), passengers may find an in-app notification asking whether to activate in-car recording for safety protection. According to Didi’s response to iyiou.com, the function is not yet widely used, and not all Didi vehicles are equipped with a device.

Screenshot of Didi’s video recording server notification. The reminder at the bottom reads: [Video] data will be stored encrypted. Drivers have no access to the content. In any case of service disputes, the video stored may be used as a reference.
Didi told TechNode that the recording trial started from the beginning of this year. Some vehicles in 5 pilot cities including Shenzhen and Nanjing are adopting the recording solution as the government’s compulsory demand. Further future plans are still under the company’s internal discussion. The use of recording devices is also likely to provide evidence for regular service disputes.

“Due to privacy concerns, the recording function will only be activated once a passenger confirms from their app. They can end it anytime during her ride,” Didi explained to us.

Prior to the video recording test, Didi made several safety upgrades to alleviate users’ safety anxiety. The company shut down its hitch service from May 12 to May 19, after a 21-year-old female passenger were killed by a driver late in the night in Zhengzhou. Didi’s available safety protection mechanisms include virtual contact number, in-car SOS dial, and several identity verification rules applied to drivers didn’t prevent the tragedy from happening.

Also in May, there were already experts suggesting initiating video recording or CCTV for passengers’ safety protection. Li Junhui, a researcher at China University of Political Science and Law, said (in Chinese) installing in-car cameras would be more practical than solutions such as audio recording.

According to Didi’s latest operation data, its platform processes over 30 million rides daily in China alone.