Tim Cook thinks Apple-backed Didi Chuxing could help ‘traffic jams go the way of the flip phone’

Apple CEO Tim Cook has penned a short piece on Didi Chuxing president Jean Liu for Time’s 100 Most Influential People feature, and in it he shares his vision for the company in which Apple invested $1 billion last year.

Cook first explained Apple’s investment in the Chinese Uber competitor as “a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market” among other strategic reasons, and in his latest piece Cook describes the potential for Didi Chuxing to help solve every commuter’s nightmare:

With Didi Chuxing, the ride-sharing, taxi-hailing startup she leads alongside Cheng Wei—its name means “Beep Beep Mobility” in Chinese—Jean has built a transportation platform that offers convenience and flexibility to tens of millions of commuters.

She and her team are succeeding with innovative, big-data algorithms that aim both to improve the efficiency of Didi’s service and to ease the congestion on roadways. By analyzing commuter patterns the way oceanographers track the tides, Didi may help traffic jams go the way of the flip phone.

Cook’s belief that ride-sharing services may be instrumental to ending traffic jams like how the iPhone has made flip phones obsolete may be telling for Apple’s overall goal of reportedly developing self-driving car technology of its own and possibly even an electric vehicle.

Just last week a new development surfaced as Apple was granted permission to test self driving cars on California public roads. It’s clear Apple has its own ideas about how to be involved in this space whether or not that means making its own EV.

As for Didi Chuxing, the firm recently opened a self-driving car lab in California, and Apple has a seat on the company’s board following its investment.


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