The Autonomist

Huawei reveals self-driving tech deal with with Audi, Toyota

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has revealed that it has a division working on self-driving artificial intelligence technology and has partnered with auto makers including Audi and GAC Toyota Motor to get autonomous cars on the road by 2021.

The disclosure – by chief strategist Dang Wenshuan – comes as a welcome distraction when the company is mired in a dispute with US authorities over allegations of links to the Chinese security services.

Dang says Huawei’s AI firmware will be at the heart of vehicles from Audi, GAC Toyota Motor, a joint venture between Toyota and the Guangzhou Automobile Group; and Chinese auto makers Beijing New Energy Automobile and Changan Automobile. He expects the self-driving cars to be on the road in both China and Europe within two years.

The company also divulged that a self-driving Audi has been tested in real-world conditions on the roads of Shanghai, successfully navigating the complexity of other vehicles, motorbikes, scooters, cyclists, pedestrians and traffic lights.

A company engineer remained in the driver’s seat but never had to operate the steering wheel or brakes.

‘In terms of moving to a connected car, or an autonomous driving car, the Chinese car manufacturers are moving even faster’ he told the Financial Times.

However, despite the apparently successful deployment in Shanghai, Dang is pessimistic that full Level 5 autonomy is achievable. Level 5 ‘will never be happen’ he told the FT. Instead, Huawei is focused on achieving up to Level 4, the capability of the Audi in the Shanghai tests.

It’s understood that a number of big-name Chinese tech firms are in the connected and autonomous driving sector, including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu.

By Ray Molony, Technology Editor

Wednesday 12 June 2019