SAIC Motor endeavors to expand autonomous driving business on all fronts
As one of the biggest OEMs in China, SAIC Motor has been closely partnering with its technology partners to make sure it can keep its leading position in autonomous driving domain. The company got China's first batch of licenses that permits its ICVs (intelligent-connected vehicle) to be tested on public roads. Meanwhile, it has been consistently consolidating and expanding its layouts in the nascent field on all fronts.
Reportedly, SAIC Motor has deployed two autonomous driving units in China and the U.S. with different focuses. The China-based unit focuses on developing forward-looking technologies for the group, which had demonstrated L4 autonomous driving technologies in April, 2017. The venture investment and innovation unit located in Silicon Valley has invested in AutoX, a self-driving solution provider and Civil Maps, a scalable, edge-based HD mapping and localization platform developer.
SAIC Motor has by far completed two generations of ICV platforms and a 5G telematics platform, and conducted autonomous driving technology researches and field tests in highways, urban areas and other common transportation environments. In June last year, the automaker successfully obtained its autonomous vehicle testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
To bolster its R&D in autonomous vehicle area, SAIC Motor also attaches heavy importance to HP mapping technology. On September 28, 2017, SAIC Motor entered into a strategic investment cooperation agreement with Wuhan Kotei Informatics Co., Ltd. (Kotei). Through Wuhan Kotei Big Data Corporation (a joint venture of Kotei and HI-TARGET that specializes in HD map business), the two sides will carry out deep cooperation in HD map, autonomous driving, big data platform and other frontier technical fields, to promote the innovative development of the ICV industry based on new energy vehicles and achieve breakthrough in autonomous driving.
The shanghai-based automaker has still forged partnerships with Momenta (a Chinese autonomous driving company) and DeepMap (a mapping startup in the U.S.) on HD mapping programs.
In addition, SAIC Motor has partnered with the world-leading chip maker Intel and its subsidiary Mobileye to develop autonomous vehicles. As part of the collaboration, SAIC will develop autonomous vehicles based on Mobileye's technology in China. Intel will also collaborate with SAIC and NavInfo Co. Ltd., one of China's largest mapping companies, to extend its crowdsourced map building to the country.
At 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, the automaker unveiled its self-developed intelligent vehicle dubbed iGS. As a concept model in SAIC Motor’s autonomous driving vision, the iGS boasted a variety of smart driving functions, such as remote control parking, automatic cruise, automatic following, lane keeping and lane changing, etc.
SAIC Motor aims to make its autonomous vehicles run on structural roads and part of unstructured roads by 2020 and have the emerging technologies applied in whole traffic environments by 2025.