• January 30, 2018

    PacTrans Hosts Tech Workshop with DiDi


    Recently, PacTrans director, Yinhai Wang, was contacted by DiDi, the Chinese ride-sharing company that provides transportation services for more than 450 million users across over 400 cities in China. Their interest was to visit and hear from university researchers with a broad range of expertise from artificial intelligence, to data driven smart transportation solutions, to voice recognition, to natural language processing.

    On January 16, 2018, PacTrans hosted a half day technology and research scan and discussion of the topics listed above. This workshop was attended by a group of four people lead by Jieping Ye, Vice President of DiDi, a group from Zhuhai Innovation Center, as well as several UW faculty and student researchers.

    The program started with welcoming remarks from University of Washington (UW) professor Yinhai Wang, College of Engineering Vice Dean Gregory Miller, and Civil & Environmental Engineering Department Chair Laura Lowes. To start off the research session, DiDi vice President Jieping Ye presented an introduction to the AI-related work that is taking place at DiDi, as well as their vision for the future of ride sharing in China and around the world. Mr. Ye’s talk highlighted DiDi’s interest in collaborating with researchers and agencies to apply their vast data resources to address current challenges in transportation planning and management.

    In the research session, professors and researchers from the UW departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Industrial & Systems Engineering presented their current research on emerging topics in transportation. Presentations included pricing and rider/driver matching for sustainable ride sharing (Dr. Cynthia Chen, UW CEE), Mobile sensing for Urband traffic monitoring (Dr. Jeff Ban, UW CEE), and data driven smart transportation solutions (Dr. Linda Ng Boyle, UW ISE/CEE). Over lunch, a great deal of discussion took place between DiDi representatives and University of Washington faculty regarding research collaboration, DiDi recruitment of UW graduate students, and current trends in ride sharing and data-driven transportation. In addition, UW graduate students in attendance were invited to discuss potential employment opportunities with DiDi representatives.