Huawei teams up with automakers to launch self-driving cars – report
Link to RT Business
One of the world’s largest telecom companies, Huawei, may launch self-driving vehicles as early as 2021 together with partners in China and beyond, a Huawei representative has revealed to the Financial Times (FT).
The Chinese tech giant is under intense pressure from the US, which has banned American firms from supplying Huawei with components or technology, amid a simmering trade row with Beijing.
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Huawei, meanwhile, is apparently looking to move beyond the telecoms industry. The corporation’s chief strategy architect, Dang Wenshuan, said there are plans to supply artificial intelligence technology for a joint project with manufacturers, including Audi and GAC Toyota (a joint venture of Chinese automobile maker GAC Group and Toyota Motor Company). China-based Beijing New Energy Automobile and Changan Automobile are also collaborating with the company.
“From my understanding, we are working together to have a car that will be shipped in the year 2021 or 2022 using these [autonomous driving] components,” Dang said as cited by FT.
The self-driving cars are expected to be launched in China, as Chinese producers are moving “faster” in this sphere, but the vehicles will also be available in Europe, he added.
A prototype of the autonomous car was demonstrated to the FT in Huawei’s headquarters. The demo featured an Audi car driving through the streets of Shanghai. The man behind the wheel did not touch any controls, while the vehicle stopped at the traffic lights and avoided pedestrians.
The project already has competitors in the autonomous driving market given that leading world tech companies, and Chinese ones too, are working on similar projects of their own.
Alibaba, for example, recently joined rival internet giants Baidu and Tencent in their efforts to create a self-driving car and is reportedly already running road tests. Meanwhile, Google has launched its self-driving taxi startup, Waymo, and Tesla wants to roll out a network of autonomous “robotaxis.”