China is leading the way when it comes to using Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) technology for the social good, going by the latest developments coming out of the country’s leading mobile transportation platform provider, Didi Chuxing (DiDi).
DiDi has recently launched a major initiative to understand the social benefits and impact on Chinese communities of AI.
The company already offers a range of popular apps for over 550 million Chinese users, helping them to get around cities with taxis, carpooling, bike-sharing and more.
DiDi made the latest announcement at its Tech Day in Beijing, where it also revealed new developments in AI with industry partners, academia, students and engineers.
Machine learning and AI for Social Good
Bob Zhang Bo, DiDi’s chief technology officer, revealed that the company’s Express Pool service – which operates across 100 cities in China and accounts for up to 20 per cent of journeys in core markets – aims to improve the user experience with machine learning algorithms.
DiDi’s algorithms help to boost the efficiency and popularity of carpooling as an increasingly popular option for drivers to increase their income.
Plus, the company demonstrated two pilot projects soon heading for street testing: its indoor augmented reality (AR) navigation technology and a driver voice assistant.
The interactive, app-based AR navigation service is built on computer vision positioning and 3D scene reconstruction technology, so it can also help pedestrians navigate through malls, airports and large sprawling cityscapes.
The driver voice assistant provides all the services a driver could need ranging from audio and video content search, information inquiry and temperature adjustment, to passenger communications, customer service, and refuel, recharging or repair services.
The company’s AI for Social Good project launched in conjunction with various partners, including the China Cultural Information Service Centre for the Visually Impaired, China Research Centre of Information and Accessibility for Disability, National Engineering Laboratory for Big Data Analysis and Technique, School of Environment of Tsinghua University and the Special Education College of Beijing Union University.
As we develop more powerful AI tech, we have to integrate better with communities to understand the social impacts of the tech and better use it in ways that benefit the wider culture, society and economy.
These kinds of smart transportation innovations and initiatives provide vital joint technological and social solutions to environmental, safety, health and accessibility challenges.