The global talent war for top artificial intelligence (AI) talent just intensified, as Chinese ride share giant Didi Chuxing officially launched an AI lab in California to attract top engineering talents to advance transformation in the global transportation industry.
The newly established Didi Labs, located in Mountain View, will primarily focus on AI-based security and intelligent driving technologies, Didi said in an announcement today.
The Chinese company’s move follows that of U.S. ride share company Uber, which created its AI Labs in San Francisco in December 2016 to conduct cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
"Sweeping changes are taking place in the global transportation and automobile industries. As the world’s leading mobility platform, DiDi has invested in five industry leaders around the world. Building on rich data and fast-evolving AI analytics, we will be working with cities and towns to build intelligent transportation ecosystems for the future," said Cheng Wei, founder of Didi Chuxing.
"As we strive to bring better services to broader communities, DiDi’s international vision now extends to building the best-in-class international research network, advancing the global transportation revolution by leveraging innovative resources. The launch of DiDi Labs is a landmark in creating this global nexus of innovation," Cheng added.
DiDi Labs will be led by Dr. Gong Fengmin, vice president of DiDi Research Institute. Dozens of leading data scientists and researchers have joined the team, including Charlie Miller, one of the world’s foremost automobile security experts. Current projects span the areas of cloud-based security, deep learning, human-machine interaction, computer vision and imaging, as well as intelligent driving technologies.
Meanwhile, DiDi Labs will work in tandem with the broader DiDi research network to advance its global strategy, apply research findings to products and services, and help cities develop smart transportation infrastructure. DiDi expects to rapidly expand its U.S.-based team of scientists and engineers over the course of the year.
Didi also launched the DiDi-Udacity Self-Driving Car Challenge, an open-source self-driving competition in which player teams are invited to create an Automated Safety and Awareness Processing Stack (ASAPS) to improve general safety metrics for human and intelligent driving scenarios based on real data, in Mountain View today.
"In the next decade, DiDi will play a leading role in innovation at three layers: optimization of transportation infrastructure, introduction of new energy vehicles and intelligent driving systems, and a shift in human-automotive relationship from ownership to shared access," said Bob Zhang, chief technology officer of Didi.