Earlier this week, Didi Chuxing unveiled the D1, an electric vehicle custom-built for ride-hailing. Developed with BYD Company Limited, the D1 cars will start rolling out to Didi’s leasing partners in major Chinese cities in the coming months.
For a compact car, D1 comes with a L2 Assisted Driving system with above-the-grade manufacturer safety set-ups, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and pedestrian collision warning.
These features are combined with Didi’s ride-hailing safety innovations, including a complete driver monitoring system, a steering wheel with safety alerts and response functions, and an AI voice and video monitoring and analysis system that uses DiDi’s facial and object recognition technology.
Dubbed the “Didi Smart Driver,” D1 carries an all-in-one driver assistance system that interacts with the human driver through a dashboard pad, an on-board voice assistant and the smart steering wheel. The Smart Driver integrates the full ride-hailing service flow from driver verification, pickup and drop-off, to payment and customer service. Its energy management function offers real-time recharging and maintenance support. At 12.8 kwh/100 km, D1 has one of the highest energy efficiency levels among its peers.
The Smart Driver is linked with a fleet management system that helps larger operators track and optimize operational status.
Inside, this compact vehicle offers passengers extra space and greater control of in-vehicle environmental and infotainment settings. Adaptations for drivers include ergonomic seat design for extended city driving and a friendlier driver’s space set-up.
Additionally, the color-coded lights and sliding-door designs facilitate fast and safe pickup and drop-off.
China is the world’s largest and hence one of the most under-supplied transportation markets. Shared mobility accounts for less than 3% of the total addressable mobility needs, and Didi aims to raise the penetration rate to 8% by 2022.
“Shared intelligent mobility is the optimum solution for the future of transportation," Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of Didi, said in a statement. "With the continued development of autonomous driving and AI technology, people will be able to enjoy a better travel experience through shared mobility.”
D1 is Didi’s first step to build customized ride-hailing vehicles by leveraging its expertise and data insights from its user base of over 550 million registered passengers and 31 million drivers.
Didi’s auto alliance, pivoted on Didi’s Xiaoju Automobile Solutions, includes members such as BYD, FAW, BAIC, GAW, Toyota, Volkswagen, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, and other leading carmakers. Forms of collaboration range from trading and leasing, operation of fleets, maintenance and service, to energy supply and co-design of vehicles.