BEIJING -- Didi Chuxing said Friday that it has opened an artificial intelligence R&D center here, with an eye toward improving its ride-hailing platform and developing smart transportation systems to tackle such issues as congestion.
The new DiDi AI Labs further expands the No. 1 Chinese ride-booking company's research and development network, which already includes two facilities in California. The Beijing lab will research solutions to transportation challenges using such technologies as natural language processing, deep learning and big data analysis. It employs more than 200 scientists and engineers from around the world, with plans to add more later this year.
"We are part of the amazing adventure to redefine transportation as we know it, and AI Labs is our task force at the very frontier of technology," President Jean Liu said at the opening ceremony, according to a company statement.
Didi already uses AI for its ride-hailing service. The company says it can predict supply and demand shifts 15 minutes ahead of time with 85% accuracy.
Didi is also working with local governments in China and other entities to develop transportation systems that use AI to alleviate the gridlock that plagues many Chinese cities, including Beijing. With traffic congestion becoming a major issue in Southeast Asia and elsewhere as well, AI research will likely give the company an edge as it expands overseas.