Didi Chuxing has announced a joint venture with automotive giant BAIC
China’s largest ride-hailing startup, Didi Chuxing has announced that it is set to partner with Beijing Electric Vehicle Co (an affiliate of automotive giant BAIC) in a new joint venture. The duo will seek to combine their strengths and undertake electric and hybrid vehicle projects and develop “next generation connected car-systems.”
Delivering a range of app-based transportation options for more than 550mn users, the JV will enable Didi to look at solving some of the biggest challenges with regards to transportation, environmental, as well as employment challenges as the result of digitisation. Building strong partnerships with leading players in the automotive space, such as Grab, Lyft and Careem, the business now reaches over 80% of the world’s population.
The JV, named BAIC-Xiaoju New Energy Auto Technology (Jingju), also aligns with China’s aim to curb the growing levels of pollution across its major cities. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers has predicted that new energy vehicle sales in the country will hit 1.6mn in 2019, CNBC has reported.
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DiDi started partnership programmes with automakers and fleet operators in 2016, and launched the Didi Auto Alliance, an industry-chain partnership network in April 2018. Xiaoju Automobile Solutions (”XAS”)was soon created to build out a collaborative driver/car-owner service platform through integrated auto-finance, leasing, trading, charging and refuelling, and maintenance operations.
With the support of policymakers, China is accelerating its systemic transition to new energy vehicles. BAIC has announced plans to stop the manufacturing and sale of gas-driven car models by 2025. Close to 400,000 new energy vehicles are registered with Didi in the world's largest shared EV network, many through the company’s partnerships with leading EV manufacturers including BYD.
To build a sustainable and more robust shared mobility ecosystem, XAS is also attracting OEMs, dealers and independent fleet operators to put their fleets on Didi’s open car-sharing programme to share Didi’s scale of operation, service standards and data capabilities. XAS now serves drivers/car-owners on Didi and beyond through the main Didi app and a separate XAS app.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.