Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing firm has just opened an R&D center in California. Notably, the company is backed by Apple and last year it had forced Uber to abandon its efforts in the Chinese market.
Didi Labs has located itself at Mountain View, California-and it is being reported that the center will focus on AI-based security and intelligent driving technologies.
The region is known for being a hub of the companies indulged in developing self-driving cars with likes of Uber and Waymo, Tesla present in the region. It is also home to General Motors’ Cruise Automation, the Toyota Research Institute, Nvidia and Apple, and at advanced labs for Volkswagen, Nissan and Delphi, Drive.ai, China’s NIO, Zoox, Nuro.ai and Aurora Innovations
The center will be led by computer scientist Fengmin Gong, vice president of the Didi Research Institut. Didi has also hired cybersecurity expert Charlie Miller, who earlier worked with Uber on its automated driving program. The company is also partnering with online education service Udacity, founded by former Google Self-Driving Car chief Sebastian Thrun, in a programming competition to find potential star AI developers. The top five teams will test their code on Udacity’s self-driving cars, with the winner collecting a $100,000 prize. It is being seen as an effort to attract talent to the center.