Huawei is navigating towards the release of a self-driving car within two years, according to the firm’s head strategist.
To be developed in collaboration with car manufacturers Audi and Toyota, the plans bring Huawei up against Google and Uber in the emerging self-driving market.
The Chinese technology firm is providing the car makers and two other Chinese firms, Beijing New Energy Automobile and Changan Automobile, with AI software.
Should all go to plan, the cars will be released in China in the first instance, with an international roll-out to follow at a later date.
Chinese technology firm Huawei is navigating towards the release of a self-driving car within two years, according to the firm’s head strategist. To be developed in collaboration with car manufacturers Audi and Toyota
According to the Financial Times, Huawei has plans to launch a self-driving car as soon as 2021.
The technology firm is collaborating with both Audi and Toyota to design the vehicles, said Huawei’s chief strategy architect Dang Wenshuan.
‘From my understanding, we are working together to have a car that will be shipped in the year 2021 or 2022 using these [autonomous driving] components,’ he said.
The car will likely be rolled out in China initially, as car manufacturers there are ‘moving faster’, Mr Wenshuan said.
‘This will be in China, but not only in China,’ he said, ‘It will also be in Europe.’
Industry standards for self-driving vehicles identify the levels of autonomy an automobile is able to reach.
For Huawei’s, it would be Level 4, which is the second-highest standard in the framework.
According to to the Financial Times, who was shown a video of an Audi vehicle powered by Huawei’s AI tech, the vehicle contained a driver, but the steering wheel and controls were untouched.
In the last two months, the company has come under intense pressure from amid the U.S.-China trade war.
The Chinese technology firm is providing the car makers and two other Chinese firms, Beijing New Energy Automobile and Changan Automobile, with AI software. Should all go to plan, the cars will be released in China in the first instance, with an international roll-out to follow at a later date (file photo)
This follows accusations that the company is being used as a gateway for the Chinese government to spy on Western nations using equipment used to facilitate the upcoming 5G service.
Huawei denies these allegations.
The Trump administration recently added the company to a trade blacklist, which has led to multiple suppliers distancing themselves from the firm.
Google then confirmed it would stop supporting Android on Huawei and Honor devices, the software which powers both firms’ phones.
Regardless of where it might be released, however, Huawei’s car will not be the only contender for the self-driving market.
Other large technology companies driving towards a commercial release of their autonomous vehicle designs are Google and Uber.
Yesterday, Uber took their wraps off of its futuristic air taxis for the first time. The firm gave the public a look at the inside of its flying taxi that’s expected to ferry up to four passengers as part of the long-awaited airborne taxi service, dubbed ‘Uber Air’
Just yesterday, Uber gave the public a look at the inside of its flying taxi , which they say will be available in 2023.
They are expected to ferry up to four passengers as part of the long-awaited airborne taxi service, dubbed ‘Uber Air.’
Previously, Uber had shared prototype digital designs of the vehicle.
HOW DO SELF-DRIVING CARS ‘SEE’?
Self-driving cars often use a combination of normal two-dimensional cameras and depth-sensing ‘LiDAR’ units to recognise the world around them.
However, others make use of visible light cameras that capture imagery of the roads and streets.
They are trained with a wealth of information and vast databases of hundreds of thousands of clips which are processed using artificial intelligence to accurately identify people, signs and hazards.
In LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanning – which is used by Waymo – one or more lasers send out short pulses, which bounce back when they hit an obstacle.
These sensors constantly scan the surrounding areas looking for information, acting as the ‘eyes’ of the car.
While the units supply depth information, their low resolution makes it hard to detect small, faraway objects without help from a normal camera linked to it in real time.
In November last year Apple revealed details of its driverless car system that uses lasers to detect pedestrians and cyclists from a distance.
The Apple researchers said they were able to get ‘highly encouraging results’ in spotting pedestrians and cyclists with just LiDAR data.
They also wrote they were able to beat other approaches for detecting three-dimensional objects that use only LiDAR.
Other self-driving cars generally rely on a combination of cameras, sensors and lasers.
An example is Volvo’s self driving cars that rely on around 28 cameras, sensors and lasers.
A network of computers process information, which together with GPS, generates a real-time map of moving and stationary objects in the environment.
Twelve ultrasonic sensors around the car are used to identify objects close to the vehicle and support autonomous drive at low speeds.
A wave radar and camera placed on the windscreen reads traffic signs and the road’s curvature and can detect objects on the road such as other road users.
Four radars behind the front and rear bumpers also locate objects.
Two long-range radars on the bumper are used to detect fast-moving vehicles approaching from far behind, which is useful on motorways.
Four cameras – two on the wing mirrors, one on the grille and one on the rear bumper – monitor objects in close proximity to the vehicle and lane markings.