Huawei announced today that two companies will develop Audi and its own operating technology for cars to be sold in China. The partnership will focus on developing so-called Level 4 technologies, and the Society of Automotive Engineers defines vehicles as cars that drive entirely from start to finish within a given area.
Similar partnerships between automakers and technology companies as the two companies move toward truly autonomous automotive goals. The two companies did not disclose the terms of the deal and the specific announcements were not clear.
Huawei introduced Audi Q7 with Connect's Mobile Data Center (MDC) equipment from tech company This week 2018 conference. The MDC is made up of many artificial intelligence chips, a central CPU, a camera, and a LIDAR, sitting on a car roof. Huawei also said he will work with Audi on vehicle-to-vehicle communications and connected automotive solutions.
For years, China has forced foreign automakers to make joint ventures with local companies to build their own cars. However, the Chinese government announced earlier this year that it plans to relax the rules, and as a result, car landscaping is already changing. Tesla plans to open a full-fledged plant in Shanghai this summer, and this week BMW announced that it will significantly increase its stake in Chinese automotive partner Brilliance Auto Group.
However, autonomous vehicles still lead the way for Western companies in China. It strictly controls the number of licenses required for automatic driving vehicle testing and the number of licenses a company can make to digital maps of national roads, which are an important part of autonomous car puzzles. This means that major automotive companies such as Daimler, Ford and BMW have partnered with Baidu and Baidu is one of those companies capable of doing both.
One of the reasons mentioned about this strict control is that the Chinese government has looked at a more liberal market approach that is considered a national security risk. In other words, foreign companies do not want to have a thorough map of China's roads and other data thoroughly. Migration reflects similar western concerns for companies like Huawei. Earlier this year, the US government banned civil servants and subcontractors from using Huawei handsets or parts.
Audi has been tested at Huawei in China since September and plans to open an Autonomous Vehicle Development Center in 2019. The automaker has developed a Level 3 system called the Traffic Jam Pilot, which allows drivers in Europe to see the hands and eyes that are out of the way while the car is handling all the travel in most situations. Audi's parent company, Volkswagen, is developing Aurora, a start-up that Google chairman has created for the driving vehicle program manager, and the 4th and 5th steps (fully unlimited autonomy) technology.