Volkswagen Group earlier this week announced it will invest € 2.4 billion ($2.3 billion U.S.) in Horizon Robotics as it works to build out its autonomous driving operations in China.
As part of the investment, Volkeswagen’s autonomous driving software company CARIAD will develop a venture with Horizon Robotics to “accelerate the regional development of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) systems for the Chinese market,” the companies said. CARIAD will hold a 60% stake in the new venture.
Beijing-based Horizon Robotics is best known for developing both software and hardware ADAS and AD technologies for the Chinese market. Last year, RoboSense announced a similar partnership with Horizon Robotics, combining its lidar software and hardware with Horizon Robotics’ edge AI computing platform to develop more autonomous driving products.
“The partnership with Horizon Robotics is a central cornerstone of our strategy to realign and further strengthen our activities in our most important market worldwide, said Ralf Brandstätter, a member of the management board of Volkswagen AG for China, in a statement.
“Localized technology development grants the region more autonomy to further expand its position in the dynamic automotive market,”Brandstätter added. “Cutting-edge technology comprising the full software and hardware stack, which the new joint venture will develop, will enable us to tailor our products and services even faster and more consistently to the needs of our Chinese customers.”
China is a valuable market for Volkswagen
“Horizon Robotics is committed to empowering smart vehicles through integrated computing solutions with the mission to make human life safer and better,” said Dr. Kai Yu, founder and CEO of Horizon Robotics. “As one of the leading companies to commercialize and mass produce computing solutions of autonomous driving in China, we will bring in our expertise to the partnership with CARIAD to develop next-generation technologies for smart vehicle users. We believe our integrated software and hardware solutions will continue to position Horizon Robotics as a partner of choice for international automakers in China.”
The companies hope to close the transaction by the first half of 2023, noting the transaction is subject to numerous business and governmental approval processes.
“Together CARIAD and Horizon Robotics plan to develop cutting-edge, highly optimized full stack ADAS/AD solutions for China to drive forward the integration of numerous functions on one chip, increasing the stability of the system, saving costs, and reducing energy consumption,” the companies said.
Reuters reported that 40% of Volkswagon’s sales and half its profits come from China and that it already carries out research and operations in the country.
“It operates numerous joint ventures in China, holding a 75% stake in its venture with JAC (600418.SS), a 50% stake with SAIC (600104.SS) and 40% with FAW (SASACJ.UL),” the news source reported.