The autonomous driving area could be seeing the wedding of two titans. Volkswagen is in talks with Huawei to purchase the latter’s nascent autonomous driving unit for billions of euros, Germany’s Manager Magazin reported on Thursday.
Huawei stated it has no instant remark when contacted by TechCrunch. VW China stated it has no remark.
The potential merger will likely be a robust one. Huawei’s autonomous unit sits underneath the telecom tools and smartphone behemoth’s “smart vehicle solution” enterprise unit, which started only in 2019. The founding of the sensible automobile BU spurred a lot hypothesis over whether or not Huawei would develop its personal automobiles, although the agency has repeatedly denied any manufacturing plans and stated it as an alternative wants to be the “Bosch of China”, or a parts provider for automobile manufacturers.
Huawei seems to have adhered to this technique, a minimum of to date. Last 12 months, the Shenzhen-based firm showcased its automated driving solutions that had been preinstalled in a mass-produced sedan from Arcfox, a new electric car brand under Chinese automaker BAIC. Huawei equipped the electrical sedan’s chipset and in-car working system.
For VW, a tech agency with autonomous driving capabilities might assist advance its ambitions to make the autos of tomorrow. Indeed, the German large struck a partnership with Argo AI, a Pittsburg-based startup backed by Ford and VW. Last September, the duo unveiled the primary product of their joint effort, a self-driving electric van.
It would shock nobody that VW was in search of the same tech associate in China, its largest market as of 2020. Numerous China’s autonomous automobile firms have already fostered deep relationships with automakers; Baidu has a joint venture with Geely and Didi has a JV with BYD.
The reported acquisition comes at a fragile time for Huawei’s AV crew. Su Jing, former head of the Chinese agency’s autonomous driving product, left the company in January after making what Huawei referred to as “inappropriate comments” on Tesla, accusing Autopilot’s deadly accidents of “killing people.”
Since his departure, the Huawei veteran’s subsequent step has drawn a lot hypothesis. What we all know is Su’s dislike of robotaxis. In an interview last year, the outspoken govt stated “any company that sees robotaxis as its ultimate commercial goal is doomed. Those who will be able to deliver robotaxis will be the ones working on passenger cars. That market is definitely going to be mine, just not yet.”
An acquisition of Huawei’s autonomous driving enterprise gained’t be low-cost. The firm’s sensible automobile unit had plans to spend a total of $1 billion on R&D for the 12 months 2021. It additionally aimed to construct an R&D crew boasting 5,000 employees, with over 2,000 of them engaged on autonomous driving alone. The query is: Huawei has invested so closely in sensible driving already, with a rising pool of shoppers, why wouldn’t it give this budding enterprise away?