Elon Musk will announce Tesla's robotaxi on 8 August, and the whole world is eagerly awaiting more news about the project, which the company has been working on since 2016. But the vehicle is not coming anytime soon. Instead, on the other side of the world, it is fast becoming a reality.

Didi Global, the Chinese giant specialising in mobility-related services (a sort of almond-eyed Uber, to be clear), will start mass production of robotaxis as early as 2025. It will do so thanks to Andi, the joint venture between the Didi Autonomous Driving division and the new car brand GAC Aion.

Starting with an electric crossover

The first planned robotaxi, which, as mentioned, will already be available on the market in the course of next year, will be a zero-emission crossover that will initially enter service on a number of planned routes.

"With the joint venture signed with Didi Global, we are positioning ourselves as pioneers in the field of autonomous driving and will enable us to create a fleet of Level 4 vehicles built independently,' explained Zhang Xiong, deputy director of GAC Aion. 'In fact, we are able to manage both the development of the necessary technology and the actual production of the vehicles in-house.

 

Will it be the Neuron?

If it is certain that next year Didi Global will have its own fleet of robotaxis and that the vehicle will be a crossover, one wonders if this will be that Neuron shown in 2023. It is a very strange, square-shaped vehicle that also has movable arms to help passengers load their luggage.

The vehicle uses 21 cameras, 8 lidar and 6 radars to move on its own. Its shapes are designed to maximise space on board and guarantee passengers a high level of comfort. At the time of the presentation, Meng Xing, CEO of Didi Autonomous Driving, said: "We could be ready very quickly if we found a manufacturer to collaborate with. He found it in GAC Aion.