The Alpha S is produced by BAIC BluePark. The basic model costs 50 thousand euros. Initially it will only be able to travel on the highway and in a few Chinese cities. Huawei is betting on smart machines to make up for losses in telecommunications. Great competition in the sector: Apple is expected to join.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The first driverless car equipped with Huawei technology is on the market. The Polar Fox Alpha S is produced by carmaker BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology, which has received pre-orders; the delivery of the cars is expected by the end of the year.
In addition to the components for autonomous driving, Huawei provides its own operating system. The basic model of the vehicle, which can only travel on the highway, costs 389 thousand yuan (50 thousand euros); the most advanced reaches 430 thousand yuan (55 thousand euros) and can also proceed on urban roads. By the end of the year, Huawei driverless cars will be on the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. In 2022, the market will be expanded to at least 20 other cities.
In terms of capacity, the Alpha S is a “level 4” vehicle: it can only travel automatically under certain circumstances. Instead, it has a level 2 of responsibility, with the driver continuing to manage and monitor the vehicle.
Huawei will invest 830 million euros in the cars of the future this year. It will not develop the vehicles itself, only the driving and navigation systems. Aside from BAIC BluePark, the Chinese hi-tech giant will supply its technology to Chongqing Changan Automobile and Guangzhou Automobile Group.
According to several analysts, Huawei's strong interest in driverless cars is explained by the need to offset the losses suffered in the telephony sector, its primary business. The company suffered a severe blow from US sanctions and the drop in production of microchips - key components of all electronic systems - during the pandemic.
However, the tech giant will have strong internal competition. Over the next 10 years Xiaomi will invest 8.3 billion euros in electric cars; Baidu (the Chinese Google) has instead signed an agreement with the Zhejiang Geely Auto Group to produce smart cars. Now everyone in the industry is waiting for Apple’s entry into the dispute.