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Huawei is not a carmaker. It wants to be the Bosch of China

One after another, Chinese tech monsters have announced their plans for the vehicle space over the last few months. Some internet firms, like search engine provider Baidu, decided to recruit help from a traditional carmaker to produce autoes. Xiaomi, which utters its own smartphones but has stressed for years it’s a light-asset firm making money from software assistances, likewise jumped on the automaking bandwagon. Industry commentators are now conjecturing who will be the next. Huawei naturally comes to their minds.

Huawei seems well-suited for construct autoes — at least more qualified than some of the pure internet conglomerates — thanks to its history in manufacturing and supply chain management, label identification, and massive retail system. But the telecom equipment and smartphone make repeatedly repudiated reports claiming it was launching a gondola brand. Instead, it says its role is to be a Tier 1 supplier for automakers or OEMs( original equipment makes ).

Huawei is not a carmaker, the company’s rotating chairman Eric Xu repetition recently at the firm’s annual psychoanalyst gathering in Shenzhen.

” Since 2012, I have personally involved with the chairmen and CEOs of all major car OEMs in China as well as execs of German and Japanese automakers. During this process, I found that the automotive industry needs Huawei. It doesn’t need the Huawei brand, but instead, it needs our ICT[ information and communication technology] expertise to help build future-oriented vehicles ,” said Xu, who said the strategy has not changed since it was incepted in 2018.

There are three major roles in auto creation: labelled “manufacturers ” like Audi, Honda, Tesla, and soon Apple; Tier 1 companionships that supply auto parts and systems immediately to carmakers, including established ones like Bosch and Continental, and now Huawei; and lastly, chip suppliers including Nvidia, Intel and NXP, whose role is increasingly crucial as industry musicians make strides toward highly automated vehicles. Huawei too acquires in-house gondola chips.

” Huawei wants to be the next-generation Bosch ,” an director from a Chinese robotaxi startup told TechCrunch, asking not to be named.

Huawei draws the same position as a Tier 1 supplier explicit. So far it has secured three major customers: BAIC, Chang’an Automobile, and Guangzhou Automobile Group.

” We won’t have too many of these types of in-depth collaboration ,” Xu assured.

L4 independence?

Image Credits: Arcfox Alpha S ,,( opens in a brand-new window )

Arcfox, a new electric passenger car symbol under state-owned carmaker BAIC, debuted its Alpha S simulation quipped with Huawei’s “HI” systems, short for Huawei Inside( not unlike” Powered by Intel “), during China’s annual auto show on Saturday. The electric sedan, priced between 388,900 yuan and 429,900 yuan( about $60,000 and $66,000 ), comes with Huawei roles including an operating system driven by Huawei’s Kirin chip, a range of apps that run on HarmonyOS, automated driving, fast billing, and shadowed computing.

Perhaps most eye-catching is that Alpha S has achieved Level 4 abilities, which Huawei fortified with TechCrunch.

That’s a daring affirmation, for it means that the car will not require human intervention in most scenarios, that is, moves can take their hands off the wheels and nap.

There are some nuances to this claim, though. In a recent interview, Su Qing, general manager for autonomous driving at Huawei, said Alpha S is L4 in terms of “experience” but L2 according to “legal” responsibilities. China has only granted a small number of companies to test autonomous vehicles without refuge motorists in restricted areas and is far from letting consumer-grade driverless gondolas prowl urban roads.

As it turned out, Huawei’s “L4” affairs were evidenced during a demo, during which the Arcfox car traveled for 1,000 kilometers in a hectic Chinese municipality without human intervention, though a refuge operator operates in the “drivers seat”. Automating the car is a stack of sensors, including 3 lidars, six millimeter-wave radars, 13 ultrasonic radars and 12 cameras, as well as Huawei’s own chipset for automated driving.

” This would be considerably better than Tesla ,” Xu said of the car’s capabilities.

But some reason the Huawei-powered vehicle isn’t L4 by strict clarity. The debate seems to be a matter of semantics.

” Our gondolas you see today are already L4, but I can assure you, I dare not make the operator leave the car ,” Su said.” Before you achieve really big MPI[ miles per involvement] quantities, don’t even mention L4. It’s all simply demos .”

” It’s not L4 if you can’t remove the safety motorist ,” the executive heads from the robotaxi corporation insisted.” A demo can only be done easily, but removing the operator will be difficult .”

” This engineering that Huawei claims is different from L4 autonomous driving ,” said a director working for another Chinese autonomous vehicle startup.” The current challenge for L4 is not whether it can be driverless but how to be driverless at all epoch .”

L4 or not, Huawei is certainly willing to splurge on the future of driving. This time, the house is on track to spend over$ 1 billion on smart-alecky vehicle components and tech, Xu said at the consultant event.

A 5G future

Many believe 5G will frisk a crucial role in accelerating the development of driverless vehicles. Huawei, the world’s biggest telecom equipment maker, would have a lot to derive from 5G rollouts around the globe, but Xu suggested the next-gen wireless technology isn’t a necessity for self-driving vehicles.

” To make autonomous driving a reality, the vehicles themselves have to be autonomous. That necessitates a vehicle can drive autonomously without external reinforce ,” said the executive.

” Completely relying on 5G or 5.5 G for autonomous driving will naturally justification difficulties. What if a 5G area goes wrong? That would grow a very high bar for portable system adventurers. They would have to ensure their networks cover every reces, don’t go wrong in any circumstances and have high levels of resilience. I think that’s simply an impractical possibility .”

Huawei may be happy enough as a Tier 1 supplier if it intention up taking over Bosch’s market. Numerous Chinese corporations are shifting away from Western tech suppliers towards homegrown options in anticipation of future sanctions or simply to seek cheaper alternatives that are just as robust. Arcfox is just the opening up of Huawei’s car ambitions.

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