Arcfox, an electric vehicle brand launched by Chinese automaker BAIC, said it began providing car users with its long-awaited Navigation Cruise Assist (NCA) software, a semi-autonomous driving feature developed by Huawei on Friday.
Why is this important: The introduction of Huawei’s automated driving capabilities comes nearly a year later than expected. It will test whether the Chinese telecommunications giant can provide a competitive advantage to partner electric vehicle manufacturers.
Details: From September 23, the NCA driver assistance function is available for owners of the “HI (Huawei Inside)” version of Arcfox-branded Alpha S SUVs in Shenzhen. It will then be extended to Beijing and Shanghai, a company spokesperson told Chinese financial media Caixin, without giving a timeframe.
- This feature allows Arcfox cars to change lanes and speed up or slow down on highways and city streets. It also controls acceleration and braking to maintain the desired distance between the SUV and the vehicle in front, an official statement said.
- Like other similar offerings from competitors such as Nio and Xpeng, the NCA uses a system of 34 sensors and cameras, along with high-definition maps, to achieve virtually automated driving on Chinese urban streets.
- Like its competitors, the system qualifies as advanced driver assistance technology, which means that the driver must always take full responsibility for driving tasks and monitor the environment at all times.
The context: Chinese automakers have been slowly increasing the availability and capabilities of their intelligent driving systems, which are primarily high-definition map-based and subject to government approval for the use of geographic data, Reuters reported.
- On September 19, Alibaba-backed Xpeng Motors began testing City Navigation Guided Pilot software with selected drivers in its headquarters city of Guangzhou and is currently waiting for regulators to give the green light to a broader version in d ‘other cities.
- Arcfox’s driving software was initially expected to be available to car owners on major provincial highways and China’s four leading cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – by the end of 2021, then to users. of at least 20 major cities.
- In April 2021, Chinese automaker BAIC introduced the Alpha S, a premium electric sedan under the Arcfox brand equipped with Huawei’s HI system. Vehicle deliveries began in July, after more than eight months of delay.
- State-owned BAIC sold 6,723 Arcfox-branded vehicles in the first half of this year, far behind its rivals.
- Shenzhen-based Huawei is also collaborating with automakers Changan and Seres to enter the booming electric vehicle market.