Xiaomi, one of China’s largest consumer electronics and smart device makers, announced it has stepped up its autonomous vehicle testing to include 140 cars across China.
Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi, said the company had 500 staff dedicated solely to autonomous driving technology and will invest $490 million in its upcoming autonomous system, called Pilot Technology. The 140 vehicles will be tested across the country with a goal to begin commercial services by 2024.
"Xiaomi's autonomous driving technology adopts a self-developed full stack approach, and the project has made progress beyond expectations," Jun said.
Last year, Xiaomi said it would enter the autonomous vehicle market joining a number of other Chinese companies that are already under development including Baidu, the Chinese internet giant, that just this month began operating driverless ride-hailing services in the cities of Wuhan and Chongqing, the first rides that will take place without a safety driver.
Earlier this year, Baidu and Pony.ai began testing driverless robotaxis in the Chinese capital of Beijing but these had safety drivers inside. Both companies have also been approved to charge for robotaxi services in Beijing, the first companies to be allowed to do so.
To enhance its autonomous driving portfolio, Xiaomi acquired Shendong Technology, a driverless vehicle startup, and it is investing in more than 10 upstream and downstream enterprises in the autonomous driving field. These companies will cover a wide range of electronics segments including core sensors, core actuators, domain controllers and more.
Xiaomi said it will build a full stack approach to autonomous driving including all hardware and software, perception and positing technology as well as full-scale proprietary solutions for closed-loop data capabilities. Additionally, Xiaomi is working on solutions for automated parking including scenarios such as reserved parking spaces, automated valet parking and automatic robotic arm charging of electric vehicles.
In the video, Xiaomi’s test vehicle equipped with its Pilot Technology can handle multiple scenarios including U-turns, roundabouts and downhill driving as well as navigating around other cars, pedestrians and bicycles.