Developments in China’s autonomous driving industry continue. With the development of the artificial general intelligence (AGI) chip and the announcement of Didi’s new autopilot company, safe autonomous driving is becoming the next focus out of China.

China Develops AGI Chip, Tianjic Chip

Chinese scientists successfully developed a new hybrid chip called the Tianjic chip. This invention will bring the industry one step closer to AGI and a future filled with “thinking machines.”

The research team that created the Tianjic chip was led by professor Shi Luping from Tsinghua University. The team designed this chip by integrating both computer-science- and neuroscience-oriented approaches into one platform. These approaches rely on different formulations and coding schemes that will allow this single computing platform to run diverse machine-learning algorithms while also reconfiguring building blocks.

“This chip for general AI has the potential of being applied across many industries,” said Luping. “Autonomous driving, robotics and automation would be among the fields where this chip can make a difference.”

The research team designed a self-driving bicycle to evaluate the capabilities of the AGI chip in a road test. This bicycle was equipped with a camera, speedometer, driving and steering motors, and a Tianjic chip. The driverless bicycle performed obstacle detection, balance control, voice command recognition and decision-making under different road conditions.

After the success of the self-driving bicycle, efforts are underway to help start-ups that focus on the development of applications using the Tianjic chip design. The current goal is to launch mass production of this chip by early next year.

Didi Announces New Autopilot Company

On Aug. 5, Didi announced that its autopilot division will be upgraded to an independent company that will focus on the research and development, product application and business development related to autonomous driving technologies.

“The new company looks forward to furthering strategic collaborations with automakers and industry partners to promote the application of self-driving technologies in people’s everyday lives,” Zhang Bo, Didi’s CTO, said in a statement.

This new unit will integrate both the resources and original technology of Didi’s platform while continuing to collaborate with upstream and downstream auto industry partners. The new company will work with transportation authorities to create a more efficient, safer mobility environment for these upcoming self-driving technologies.

Since 2016, Didi has created a comprehensive R&D team that has carried out R&D and testing for autonomous driving in both the China and United States industries. Consisting of more than 200 researchers, the R&D team covers all areas of autonomous driving, including HD mapping, perception, behavior prediction and many more.