Chinese Self-Driving Taxi Coming in 2025, Mass Produced

Beijing-based Didi confirms joint venture, granted production license

Graham Hope

April 10, 2024

2 Min Read
The vehicle is described as a “crossover electric SUV”
The vehicle is described as a “crossover electric SUV” Didi

Another new self-driving taxi is on the way, this time in China.

Just days after Elon Musk confirmed Tesla’s intent to reveal a robotaxi in August, Chinese ride-hailing company Didi announced its own plans.

The Beijing-based company confirmed that its joint venture with Guangzhou automaker GAC Aion has been granted a license to mass produce a fully self-driving electric taxi capable of Level 4 automation, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

The model in question will be marketed under the Andi brand, which will also be headquartered in Guangzhou, and is set to be produced in 2025.

The vehicle is described as a “crossover electric SUV” and will sit on GAC Aion’s AEP 3.0 platform and the firm’s X-Soul electric and electronic architecture.

AEP 3.0 was first revealed in November 2022, when it was hailed as a Tesla-beating platform that would allow vehicles built on it to reach speeds of 186 mph and facilitate 0-62 mph times of 1.9 seconds for multiple electric motor cars, and 4.9 seconds for those with single electric motors.

While the Andi robotaxi is unlikely to require that kind of performance, the tech is already proven, having featured on GAC Aion’s Hyper GT sedan, which has Level 3 automated functionality.

Although details about the new self-driving taxi remain thin at this stage, we’re told that it will feature Didi’s autonomous driving tech and safety redundancy system, as well as what is described as the “latest generation of in-cabin entertainment” for robotaxis.

Related:Musk Says Tesla Self-Driving Taxi Coming in August

The design of the SUV is currently being assessed, with the expectation that it will be in production by next year.

Meng Xing, COO of DiDi Autonomous Driving and general manager of Andi, said: “The establishment of the joint venture represents a significant step forward in the successful rollout of the first mass-produced vehicle, marking a new phase of productization in the autonomous driving industry.”

Zhang Xiong, deputy general manager of GAC Aion, added that the costs normally associated with Level 4 tech could be reduced by mass production.

DiDi’s JV with GAC Aion was first revealed last year when the Autonomous Driving arm announced $149 million in funding from the state-owned GAC Group.

DiDi Autonomous Driving has previously showcased a wildly styled purpose-built self-driving taxi called the Neuron, which was also touted for production in 2025, but the EV being developed with GAC Aion is likely to be much more conventional.

Its arrival in significant numbers will constitute a major step forward for DiDi Autonomous Driving’s plan to accelerate large-scale commercial deployment of AVs. It has already operated more than 200 autonomous vehicles in cities including Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.

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About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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