Audi & Huawei Partner on Connected Car Tech

Telecom specialist Huawei and German automaker Audi are teaming up to more deeply integrate the Chinese company’s technology into new connected and self-driving vehicles.

The memorandum of understanding forms part of a broad-based partnership to accelerate the development of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), as well as various connected car services.

The two companies also agreed to jointly develop training programs to strengthen the skill sets of technology experts working on smart cars.

“We are intensifying our joint research with Huawei in the area of intelligent connected vehicles,” Saad Metz, executive vice president of Audi China, wrote in a statement. “Our aim is to improve safety and optimize traffic flows in order to create intelligent cities.”

Before the signing of the agreement, Huawei and Audi have previously cooperated in other areas related to connected vehicles, including the initiating of the telecom-vehicle industry organization 5GAA in 2017.

That same year Audi became the first foreign automobile manufacturer in China to participate in the first-time deployment of LTE-V, a mobile communication standard specially designed for connected cars.

Working in cooperation with Huawei and the Chinese government, Audi drivers were provided with real-time traffic information through connections to traffic light systems and video monitoring at intersections.

The latest Audi and Huawei announcement was part of a barrage of partnerships inked this week between Chinese tech companies and German automakers.

BMW and Suning, a Chinese retail giant, are looking to push self-driving vehicle technology to the next level through different partnerships with Baidu.

Meanwhile, Daimler is moving its advanced autonomous vehicles onto the streets of Beijing after completing extensive closed-track testing.

Nearly eight in ten Chinese consumers plan to buy a connected vehicle in the future — higher than North America’s 52% and Europe’s 53%, according to a recent Kantar TNS Auto survey.

The survey results indicated China is the most promising land for connected vehicles, with 65% of Chinese consumers accepting connected car technologies, compared with 40% in Europe and 32% in North America.

The report also noted Chinese consumers were more willing to try out entertainment and information services, such as social media, as well as video and music in their vehicles.

Huawei recently rolled out its OceanConnect Internet of Vehicles (IoV) platform, designed to connect vehicles, at the CEBIT convention in Hannover, Germany.

OceanConnect is linked to a global public cloud architecture, which provides car manufacturers access to intelligent services, supporting hundreds of millions of connections.

In February, Huawei and Telefonica completed the first proof-of-concept testbed connecting assisted driving vehicles to a 5G-based, vehicle-to-infrastructure network.

The main application scenarios of 5G in connected vehicles include tele-operated driving (TOD), high-density vehicle platooning, and rapid and coordinated lane-change assistance.

A July 2 report from IT research firm Juniper found the US and China are expected to be the key regions to watch as new policies and guidelines for autonomous vehicles emerge, with the two countries alone accounting for nearly two thirds of autonomous vehicles sold worldwide next year.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209.

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