In a major funding round the Chinese ride-hailing firm, Didi Chuxing, has raked in $4 billion and is now targeting AI and smart transport innovation as well as growing internationally.
Reportedly valued at $56 billion, the company is now in a prime position to pursue a global footprint and experiment in cutting edge technology. So far the firm has only been internationally active by expanding its global network through investments.
According to The Wall Street Journal, a source close to the company said that Abu Dhabi state and SoftBank were high profile investors among those contributing to the latest round.
In a statement on the funding round, Didi Chuxing said: “With a substantial cash reserve, DiDi plans to scale up investments in AI talent and technologies, to further build up its intelligent driving and smart transportation capabilities, and to bring more innovative and diversified transportation services to broader communities around the world.”
The firm is now in a very strong position, having previously attracted massive investors including Apple and Tencent. Prior to the latest round, Didi Chuxing had already accrued funding of $13 billion.
“We will also embark on initiatives in building new energy vehicle service networks, as part of the company’s efforts to lead the transformation of automobile and transportation industries and work towards global energy interconnection,” the company said in the statement.
Autonomous driving is quickly becoming a crowded space, with major firms including the likes of Google, Toyota and Uber entering the arena. A number of partnerships are forming to vie for a corner of the emerging market, the one between Ford and Lyft is an example of a duo pursuing an autonomous ride-hailing service.
Artificial intelligence is also gaining a great deal of attention as numerous use cases and application ideas rise to the surface. AI technology is set to be at the centre of cybersecurity in 2018, with both defenders and attackers looking to leverage the capabilities offered by the technology.