China’s Huawei develops “smart” roads that speak to driverless cars

Huawei is running a pilot project for an autonomous vehicle road network in China.

A self-driving bus on a four-kilometer (2.5 mi) road in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, spins back and forth, pauses, crosses past obstacles, accelerates and decelerates based on information, which continuously changes its surroundings. Receives . The road has embedded, traffic lights, street signs and other infrastructure sensors, cameras and radars that talk with the vehicle.

The site, used by telecom-equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co. and partners, is part of China’s first national project for intelligent and connected vehicles. The country seeks to make traffic more secure, ensuring local champions such as Huawei benefit from the huge opportunity to supply infrastructure.

“Autonomous driving is an irrefutable trend, but no isolated vehicle alone can fly it,” said Jiang Wangcheng, president of Huawei’s information and communications technology business. “The only solution is to get more information from the streets.”

Coded X-Bus, the vehicle is connected to a transport-control network that observes and decides everything that happens on the test road. Communication is two-way: the bus continuously sends information to the network and can make requests such as favorable traffic lights to help it stay on time. Although the bus is largely autonomous, a human safety driver sits behind the wheel and is ready to take control if necessary.

Shenzhen-based Huawei, with its core network business facing global pressure as the US has described it as a threat to national security, is targeting new growth areas such as transportation. Instead of building a smart car of its own – billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei and other top officials have said that is not the intention – Huawei wants to provide the communication tools and software necessary for an intelligent-vehicle revolution.

Although widespread use of such systems is still years away, technology companies around the world are making progress. Amazon.com Inc. Kay Zox received approval in September to test autonomous cars on public roads without a safety driver. News about Apple Inc. working on a self-driving car for 2024 sent its shares near record highs last month. Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving cars have been roaming American streets for years.

In China, search-engine giants Baidu Inc. on the streets of Beijing suburbs. Autonomous cars run. Chip startups such as Horizon Robotics and Shanghai Westwell Lab Information Technology Company are testing auto-driving technologies with the help of AI processors and algorithms.

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The world’s largest car market, China wants more than 50% of new auto sales for vehicles with at least some automation by 2025 according to a national technology road map set in November. The plan also emphasized the need for infrastructure that allows vehicles to be connected to the Internet and to each other.

Increased safety is a focus – currently one person is killed in an accident every eight minutes in China. Huawei aims to provide more accurate, real-time information about traffic, weather conditions and potential hazards to vehicles, drivers, pedestrians, and other road users for its technology.

“The roads are supposed to serve the vehicles that run on them,” said Jiang of Huawei. “They need to provide more information to better support them.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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