UK University Autonomous Sensor China Deal Blocked

UK government ministers have blocked a university’s commercial relationship with a Chinese company over vision-sensing technology with automotive autonomous applications.

The government has cited national security concerns in stopping the University of Manchester from licensing its sensor technology to the company, reports the BBC. The license agreement was blocked under the National Security and Investment Act, which came into force this year. The Times newspaper reported the government thinks the technology could be used in military drones or missiles.

The blocked agreement, with Beijing Infinite Vision Technology Company Ltd claiming to be a semiconductor company, was to develop, test and verify, manufacture, use and sell licensed products using “Scamp-5″and “Scamp-7” vision sensors. According to the university’s website these sensors do not output raw images but perform their own computations, delivering “high-speed and low-power consumption” to enable “new embedded-vision applications in areas such as robotics, VR [virtual reality], automotive, toys [and] surveillance”.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said there was the “potential that the technology could be used to build defense or technological capabilities which may present national security risk to the United Kingdom”.

The university told the BBC: “We will, of course, abide by the decision that has been made.” It had “thorough internal processes in place to look at proposed international agreements. These were followed in this case and, in line with the legislation, we voluntarily referred this agreement to the UK government.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

One comment

  1. Avatar Mike Bahn 25th July 2022 @ 5:15 pm

    Our company Global Defense Div. of MIS 2000 Inc. is a successor of 52 year old MIS International Inc, from We would like to know potential applications for “Night Time Parking ” for Automated Vehicles. We are prepared to sign a confidentiality agreement . WE may be prepared to bring our AV application to U.K.

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