Chinese EV maker BYD partners Momenta for autonomous driving technology
China's EV maker BYD has partnered with autonomous driving startup Momenta to establish a $15.7 million (100 million yuan) joint venture to make use of autonomous driving capabilities across certain BYD model lines. The EV maker has invested 60 million yuan in the venture while Momenta is investing 40 million yuan, Reuters reported, citing a source.
The new venture is called DiPi Intelligent Mobility and is located in Shenzhen. It combines the capabilities of BYD as an automaker with Momenta's experience in intelligent driving. In their initial scope of work, the companies will jointly work towards deploying ‘Level 2 plus’ autonomous driving capability across some vehicle model lines.
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In level 2 of semi-autonomous technology, cars can take care of nearly all aspects of driving such as steering, acceleration and braking. However, the driver is still advised to pay attention to road at all times so as to be ready to intervene if needed.
Various automakers and technology firms are investing billions of dollars in developing autonomous driving technology with an aim to take an early lead in the future of mobility. Earlier this month, SAIC Mobility - a unit of Chinese automaker SAIC Motor began offering autonomous robotaxi test rides to the public in a Shanghai district. The trial was introduced in partnership with Momenta.
Last month, Chinese search engine giant Baidu and self-driving startup Pony.ai won approval from authorities to launch paid driverless robotaxi services in the capital city - Beijing.
On the other hand, Alphabet-backed Waymo has already given a test ride of its robotaxis to hundreds of people in San Francisco since the company began its test rollout in August. Another batch of tens of thousands are currently on the waiting list to take the test rides, the company's co-chief executive officer Tekedra Mawakana informed earlier this month.