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Huawei makes significant investment in smart car solutions, lidar technology

Telecom giant Huawei runs an optoelectronics R&D center in Wuhan with more than 10,000 employees.

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Huawei aims to develop a cost-effective lidar technology for smart cars, Wang Jun, who heads the auto division for the company, announced yesterday during the 12th Automotive Blue Book Forum opening in Wuhan.

“With its advanced 5G technology the company is set to reduce the cost of radar sensors to USD 100 in the future,” Wang said at the forum. The current industry average for the lidar sensor is around USD 400-500. With this move, the Chinese tech giant seeks a more prominent role in the intelligent vehicle industry.

While Huawei does not build its own vehicles, the company wants to use its extensive telecommunications and ICT experience to provide better and more cost-effective parts for car manufacturers.

Lidar technology, which stands for “light detection and ranging,” is a remote sensing technology that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (distances) to a target. A lidar sensor fires off beams of laser light and then measures the time it takes for the light to return. Leading automotive manufacturers are developing lidar solutions for self-driving cars. While some companies, such as Tesla, are looking into non-lidar options, the technology remains the standard in the industry.

Wang said that the company runs an optoelectronic technology R&D center in Wuhan with more than 10,000 employees. The center aims to produce a 100-line lidar in a short period of time while reducing the cost. Wang also revealed that the company will increase the scaling of infrastructure software development, which will help automakers to develop cars at faster speed and accelerate their product iteration.

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Currently, many global tech companies such as Google, Baidu, Audi, Ford, and BMW, are conducting research on lidar sensing solutions and are gradually starting to use the technology in their vehicles.

Huawei entered the industry with a smart-car solutions business unit, at a time when the US government was intensifying calls for a global ban on the company. Before that, it cooperated with BYD on the integration of smart car products that use Huawei’s smartphone NFC car keys and HiCar smartphone screen-projection solutions.

KrASIA reached out to Huawei with a request for a comment on the recent efforts. “The company is increasing its investment in the automobile sector because we see a profitable market with great growth potential,” the spokesperson responded.