VW said to buy Huawei's autonomous self-driving car platform for US$1.6 billion
When it comes to autonomous driving, a number of Chinese companies now claim that they have already developed systems that are better than Tesla's FSD kit. Besides the big electric carmakers in China which all seem to offer some kind of vehicle autonomy integration, there are plenty of Chinese startups in the field that are pushing from the AI processing or hardware direction, too. VW has apparently noticed the self-driving advancements coming from China and has decided to further its rumored talks with Huawei over its autonomous EV technology to acquisition. Local media reports today that the talks are actually in the acquiring stage and VW is expected to announce in March that it will buy Huawei's self-driving unit for the equivalent of US$1.58 billion.
The move comes after Huawei's long-anticipated first foray into electric vehicles turned out to be a joint venture where the Chinese electronics giant brings its AI and Gigabit connectivity prowess to form the "brain" for semi-autonomous vehicles made by another company. The first car running on Huawei's HarmonyOS is the Aito M5 whose deliveries have now started, and it is a luxury hybrid SUV that runs on both fuel and batteries. Besides Huawei, VW has also probed various other autonomous driving solutions in China such as those provided by drone maker DJI.
Volkswagen China and Huawei already have a joint carmaking solution there - the so-called "full-stack integrated simulation platform" - so furthering the venture to include Huawei's whole self-driving unit does not sound like a stretch. The joint venture will reportedly be run by VW managers and plenty of Huawei employees in the autonomous driving department have allegedly already received notifications about "internal job transfer interviews." The end goal for VW is said to be acquisition of self-driving EV technology it doesn't have or can't develop easily, while if the price haggling is successful, Huawei's autonomous driving unit is expected to become a first-tier supplier for Volkswagen.