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Huawei, RoboSense join group pushing open-source autonomous driving technology

  • The Autoware Foundation aims to promote collaboration between corporate and academic research efforts in autonomous driving technology

Telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies, its semiconductor subsidiary HiSilicon and RoboSense, a maker of lidar sensors used in driverless cars, have become the first Chinese companies to help establish an international non-profit group that supports open-source autonomous driving projects.

The three firms are among the more than 20 founding members of the Autoware Foundation, which aims to promote collaboration between corporate and academic research efforts in autonomous driving technology, according to a statement from the group on Monday.

The foundation is an outgrowth of Autoware.AI, an open-source autonomous driving platform that was started by Nagoya University associate professor Shinpei Kato in 2015.

That platform is supported by the largest open-source community focused on autonomous driving, which includes more than 2,300 contributors at online coding forum GitHub, according to the foundation.

It said Autoware.AI has found widespread and international adoption, as it is used by more than 100 companies and runs on more than 30 vehicles in more than 20 different countries. Courses using Autoware are also offered in five countries.

Since 2017, Autoware.AI has been qualified to run on driverless vehicles on public roads in Japan.

RoboSense will provide members of the foundation and the broader Autoware.AI community with lidar hardware and algorithm expertise, according to a statement from Qiu Chunchao, chief operating officer of the Shenzhen-based start-up.

Huawei did not immediately respond to an email inquiry for comment.

The foundation’s creation has come amid more intense research work being done on autonomous driving around the world, especially in the United States and China where both traditional car makers and technology companies are rushing to develop and commercialise proprietary driverless vehicle operating systems.

Self-driving cars are increasingly seen as an amalgamation of the latest technologies adopted in car manufacturing and new energy vehicles as well as 5G mobile communications, which would help revolutionise the way people live, work and play.

China is likely to emerge as the world’s largest market for autonomous vehicles and mobility services, worth more than US$500 billion by 2030, according to a McKinsey report.

The other founding members of the Autoware Foundation include Intel Labs, LG Electric, Toyota Research Institute Advanced Development, dominant lidar sensor provider Velodyne, and semiconductor and software design company Arm Holdings, which is owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp.


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