Didi has entered the Robotruck space, with the project forming a team about 1.5 years ago, according to local media.
Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing (NYSE: DIDI) has entered the Robotruck space, with the project forming a team about 1.5 years ago, according to a report by local media outlet Yicai today.
The project is led by Didi CTO Wei Junqing and the team is mainly based in Beijing, with offices in Guangzhou and Shanghai, the report said, adding that a leading automotive supplier is in talks with Didi about a partnership for the Robotruck project.
Didi formed a self-driving technology development division in 2016, which was upgraded to an independent company in 2019.
The company has already obtained licenses for open road testing of autonomous driving in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou and California.
Didi opened self-driving tests to the public in Shanghai in 2020 and entered into a strategic partnership with GAC Aion in 2021 to advance mass production of driverless new energy vehicles (NEVs).
Previously Didi's self-driving business focused on passenger cars, but commercial vehicle self-driving not only has better market prospects, its commercialization is expected to land ahead of passenger vehicle self-driving, Yicai's report noted.
In addition to Robotruck, Didi has previously been rumored to be entering the car-making sector.
In early April last year, tech media outlet LatePost cited multiple independent sources as saying that Didi had launched a car-building project headed by vice president Yang Jun, who is also the chief product officer for the D1, a car that Didi and BYD jointly released.
On March 15, Cyber-car, a WeChat account that focuses on the smart car industry, reported that Didi's car-building project could be announced in June this year, and that it aims to deliver vehicles in June next year.
Didi's project, codenamed "Da Vinci," currently has a team of about 1,700 people and is located in Beijing's Shunyi district, the report said.
Didi's first model could be a mass-market A-class pure electric vehicle, similar in size to the BYD Qin and GAC Aion S, and priced at around 150,000 yuan ($23,582), according to the report.
Didi announced in early December last year that it would be delisted from the US and would be relisted in Hong Kong.
Didi has accumulated a 64 percent drop so far this year. The company rose more than 14 percent in pre-market trading Friday, as a top decision-making body vowed to keep China's economy stable.