Briefing: Didi announces partnership with UC Berkeley’s DeepDrive initiative

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滴滴与全球顶级自动驾驶研究联盟BDD达成战略合作 – TechNode

What happened: At a conference on Thursday, car-hailing titan Didi announced that it had formed a strategic partnership with Berkeley DeepDrive (BDD) Industry Consortium, an initiative hosted at the University of California, Berkeley. Through industry-academic linkups, BDD conducts research in the fields of computer vision and machine learning. According to Didi, the partnership will involve research and applications in the field of smart vehicles, training, and academic exchange. BDD has already partnered with Tencent, Huawei, Baidu, and Meituan-Dianping in addition to international auto brands.

Why it’s important: According to its official website, much of BDD’s research is linked to autonomous driving, suggesting that the partnership will support Didi’s ongoing efforts in applying the technology to its business. As of last February, the ride-sharing company was designing its own software and conducting small-scale tests on city roads in China. In July, company CTO and co-founder Bob Zhang also spoke of a mixed model that would allow the company to dispatch self- or human-driven cars as needed. Didi’s ambitions may be held back by its business model, however; in addition to a difficult 2018 following the murders of two passengers, it recently revealed that its spending on driver subsidies may not be sustainable.