AI Firm DeepBlue Goes Global With Self-Driving Buses

Successful Chinese bus manufacturer and AI start-up, DeepBlue Technology, has recently announced plans to start expanding its services beyond the Chinese border. However, this does not come at any surprise – DeepBlue is just one start-up in the dozens of small Chinese firms that have seen large rates of growth in the last few years. Mainly, this is because of these start-ups taking advantage of the Chinese Government’s schemes to develop domestic technology companies capable of competing with western industry leaders such as Microsoft or Google. China wants to take the stage in AI, and it’s starting to show.

China’s government can push the rapid development of AI, not necessarily through giving money, just by shouting out a slogan.
— Chen Haibo, founder and chief executive of DeepBlue

Founded in 2014, DeepBlue originally was invested in creating machine learning technologies for retail firms. One system they helped develop was called quiXmart – a system using “deep learning algorithms, computer vision, biometric recognition and payment into one integrated system”. This, they claimed, would revolutionise traditional retail processes and streamline shopping for both the shops and the shoppers themselves. Now they have moved onto creating autonomous vehicles, most notably their self-driving bus technologies which have been sold in China and soon will become available outside of China.

DeepBlue’s most popular service, the “Smart Panda Bus”, has already been reported to have been in use in ten cities in China as of 2018. This number will increase to twenty by 2020, as other Chinese cities relax rules and regulations on autonomous vehicle services. Abroad, the rising firm has confirmed a trial contract with Greece and a £470 million agreement to supply self-driving buses in Bangkok, Thailand.

The iconic smart panda bus, present in urban areas throughout China. Source: Business Tianjin Magazine

The iconic smart panda bus, present in urban areas throughout China. Source: Business Tianjin Magazine

In terms of road mileage for self-driving tests, China is behind the US. Nonetheless, the Chinese Government has slowly but surely began to reduce the red tape around autonomous vehicle testing. Recently, government started to allow local authorities to decide regulation for such tests rather than the state. This is a clear move showing that China wants to be at the forefront of any new AI technology and spearhead its use into the modern world.

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EnterpriseEdward Bristow