Huawei confirms billion dollar investment in self-driving EVs
The rumors which surfaced in February that China’s telecom and ICT giant Huawei would venture into the development and production of self-driving cars under its own brand name were confirmed this week by one of its rotating CEOs, Eric Xu.
According to the Bloomberg news agency, Xu told analysts in Shenzhen this week that the company invests one billion dollars (€840 million) in developing self-driving and electric-car technologies. But after the company denied it at first, Xu now admits it wants to actually build the cars in cooperation with Chinese carmakers, BAIC, Changan, and GAC.
No newcomer in automotive
Huawei is no newcomer in automotive technology. It has been developing in-car technologies for years, including software systems, sensors, 5G communications hardware, and an electric motor for EVs it patented itself. Huawei already partnered with Daimler, General Motors, and SAIC Motor to develop smart car technologies for the Chinese market.
With the BAIC subsidiary, BluePark, it has been working on smart car systems and autonomous driving functions. The first model using these jointly developed technologies will be the Arcfox αS HBT, an electric luxury sedan by BAIC-owned carmaker Arcfox, which is to be revealed in Shanghai on April 17th.
It features Huawei HI, a complete intelligent automotive solution that runs on Huawei’s own Harmony OS and lidar chip and has 5G connectivity. It should be capable of Level 3 autonomous driving, with the driver no longer required to have his eyes on the road in certain conditions but staying ready to intervene when needed.
One of Huawei’s three CEOs who take the seat alternatively, Eric Xu, is very confident that his company’s autonomous driving technology could even surpass Tesla’s current state of the AutoPilot.
Tesla is currently beta-testing Level 3 autonomous functions. But some sources say it’s rather an improved Level 2 of the current Tesla, where the driver still has to keep his eyes on the road and hand on the steering wheel.
‘Way better than Tesla’
Apparently, according to Bloomberg, Xu said to the analysts on Monday: “I don’t know if they were bragging, but my team said they could have cars driving on their own without human intervention for 1 000 kilometers. That’s way better than Tesla.”
Meanwhile, Huawei claims it has already signed up 18 carmakers to form a ‘5G automotive ecosystem’ using Huawei’s HiCar system. HiCar is just one component of the complete HI system and is the Huawei answer to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to connect to smartphone apps.