HUAWEI has today announced plans to invest $1 billion for research in the domain of electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and connected vehicles. HUAWEI chairman Eric Xu has revealed that the company is joining hands with three brands – BAIC Group, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co.
Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. – to launch co-branded self-driving cars. The intelligent car business unit receives one of the heaviest investments from Huawei. We will invest more than $1 billion in car component development this year. China adds 30 million cars each year, and the number is growing. Even if we don’t tap the market outside of China, if we can earn an average of 10,000 yuan from each car sold in China, that’s already a massive business for Huawei.
– Eric Xu via Bloomberg.
Notably, Xu mentioned that HUAWEI’s self-driving technology could allow a vehicle to cover a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers without any human assistance. This is on par with Tesla’s own fully self-driving technology, currently being tested as a beta. Tesla has not revealed a ‘maximum self-driving distance without human intervention’ number, but earlier this year in January, a YouTuber posted a video of his journey in a Tesla car, covering 350+ miles with almost no human intervention at all. Reports suggest that rival Apple also has an EV car in the pipeline that will be fully autonomous.
The rotating HUAWEI chairman mentioned that delving into a rapidly growing EV and intelligent car segment will not only provide HUAWEI an early lead. Still, it will also serve as a medium for the company to ensure that it survives the stringent trade sanctions imposed by the US government. To recall, HUAWEI has been reeling from trade sanctions that have crippled its supply chain – especially when it comes to semiconductors – and has adversely affected its smartphone business, both in the international as well as domestic markets.