Chinese tech giant Huawei has built a strong presence across business sectors ranging from information technology and smart devices to telecommunication networks and cloud services. Now, the company is gearing up for a piece of the auto industry.
At the Auto Shanghai 2019 Key Tech Forum yesterday Huawei Rotating Chairman Eric Xu unveiled the company’s plan to provide information and communication technology (ICT) to OEMs to help them build better vehicles.
“Based on ICT, Huawei aims to be a digital car-oriented and newly-added components provider,” said Xu. Huawei will offer following specific services to OEMs:
- MDC (Mobile Data Center) in-vehicle computing platform and intelligent driving subsystem solution
- Octopus: Huawei Cloud based cloud service for autonomous driving (training, simulation, testing)
- 4G/5G in-vehicle communication module/T-Box, network solutions
- HUAWEI HiCar people-car-home connectivity solution for all scenarios
The Chinese government believes intelligent connected vehicles are key to the future of transportation. Speaking at the World Intelligent Connected Vehicles Conference last year, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei said the market scale of the country’s intelligent connected vehicles sector is expected to exceed CN¥100 billion (US$14.5 billion) by 2020.
There is no reason for Huawei to pass on this growing market. The company has been ratcheting up its research efforts in level 4 highly-automated driving, connected vehicle technologies, and v2x solutions. In a demo at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona Huawei’s AI-powered Mate 10 Pro smartphone controlled a specially adapted Porsche Panamera.
Audi has tapped Huawei to develop self-driving technologies for its cars sold in China; and earlier this year state-owned automaker BAIC’s electric vehicle affiliate Beijing Electric Vehicle signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Huawei to co-develop a research laboratory for intelligent vehicle technologies.
In his keynote Xu stressed that Huawei does not intend to manufacture vehicles, having made the strategic choice to lower its ambitions and leverage its advantages: “70 percent of the value in future cars value will not lie in the body or chassis, but in autonomous driving software, computing, and connectivity technology. The shape of the future car will change dramatically, so we will choose not to build cars.” Many insiders are saying this was the right call for Huawei.
Auto Shanghai 2019 runs April 18 – 25 at the National Shanghai Exhibition and Convention Center.
Journalist: Tony Peng | Editor: Michael Sarazen