SHANGHAI – Huawei Technologies launched five automated driving solutions on Sunday, including one that runs on its HarmonyOS operating system.
The products, which will be mass-produced in cars to be co-developed with automakers later this year, are part of the telecommunications equipment company’s $ 1 billion investment in driving research. autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles in 2021 in order to capture the growing demand for electricity. in the world’s largest automotive market.
The launch was preceded by the unveiling on Saturday of two versions of the Arcfox Alpha S, a premium electric vehicle co-developed by Huawei’s Intelligent Automotive Solutions business unit, or HI; and Arcfox, a unit of the state-controlled automaker BAIC Group.
Both versions were also equipped with HarmonyOS, marking its debut in a vehicle before Huawei smartphones. Huawei developed HarmonyOS following trade sanctions imposed by the United States, which viewed Huawei and other Chinese companies as national security risks. The Shenzhen-based company recently said Washington’s actions had hurt the company’s progress and created a chip crisis affecting the global semiconductor industry.
“We have established extensive cooperation with around 200 global car manufacturers and industrial partners,” Wang Jun, chairman of the intelligent car solutions unit, told reporters on Sunday. Wang leads a research workforce of 5,000, 2,000 of whom focus on automated driving technologies.
Huawei will offer solutions to others but will not manufacture cars itself, unlike its rival Xiaomi. “If we can do well in vehicle parts, why do we have to produce cars?” asked Wang, who explained that making cars is not necessarily a source of income.
The billion-dollar investment reflects the company’s belief that intelligent, artificial-intelligence vehicles will be the industry’s most disruptive force over the next decade.
HI’s smart solutions focus on a new IT and communications architecture that controls driving, driver-passenger connectivity, entertainment system, as well as cloud technology.
For example, the HI smart cockpit running on the HarmonyOS can turn the windshield into a 70-inch high-definition screen, allowing passengers to watch movies, play games, and hold video conferences. It works as a smartphone ecosystem that allows users to connect to their favorite apps.
Huawei’s announcements preceded the 19th Shanghai Auto Show, which will open to the press on Monday and to the public later in the week. Local and international automakers are expected to unveil new models to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.
Led by US company Tesla and rival Nio, sales of so-called new energy vehicles rose 11% to 1.37 million units in China in 2020, even as auto sales there fell by 1.9% to 25.3 million units.
“There are 30 million vehicles in the Chinese market,” Xu Zhijun, the current rotating chairman of Huawei, told analysts last Monday.
“Even if we do not expand our vehicle business overseas, we remain self-sufficient in the face of growing demand from the domestic market, with an average annual income of 10,000 yuan. [$1,533] by car, “Xu said.” But it is certain that Huawei is a global brand and will not only focus on the local market. “
Market research firm Canalys predicted in February that Chinese electricity sales would increase by 51% this year. “But with Tesla expanding its portfolio in China, it will be difficult for competitors offering premium electric vehicles to gain market share,” Vice President Sandy Fitzpatrick said in a press release. “With this in mind, some Chinese automakers are already looking for growth opportunities in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe.”
The base and premium versions of Arcfox’s purely electric Alpha S crossover sport utility vehicle mark Huawei’s mass production of an automated driving system. They feature lidar, the radar-like light sensing technology that is essential for automating driving. A Huawei spokesperson said the vehicles could achieve Level 3, or “conditional driving automation,” on a scale where Level 5 requires no human interaction.
Priced at 388,900 yuan to 429,900 yuan, they bear the Huawei logo, in line with the diversification of the technology company’s portfolio beyond smartphones and 5G network devices. Vehicles can travel 708 km per charge. The Tesla Model Y sells for around 350,000 yuan and has a range of 594 km.
Besides BAIC Motor, Huawei is also teaming up with two other state-controlled automakers, Chongqing Changan Automobile and GAC Group, to develop automated vehicles.