VW agrees €2.4bn auto-drive JV with Horizon Robotics in ‘most important’ China
Volkswagen (VW) Group is to invest €2.4 billion into a joint-venture partnership with China-based Horizon Robotics, maker of “energy-efficient computing solutions for smart vehicles”, to develop autonomous vehicles and driving systems for the Chinese market. The partnership is being led on the Volkswagen side by its CARIAD software group; CARIAD will hold a majority 60 percent stake in the new joint venture company.
Volkswagen said the investment and partnership will help it to “speed up customization of automated driving solutions for the Chinese market”. The project will “reposition” its China business, it said, as part of its internal ‘in China, for China’ scheme. It said how the new joint venture will “strengthen its customer focus” on its “most important market worldwide”, with local development of driver assistance (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) systems.
A statement said the pair will develop “highly optimized full stack ADAS/AD solutions”… to integrate “numerous functions on one chip, increasing the stability of the system, saving costs, and reducing energy consumption” for battery EV models in China. It said: “Smart driving enabled by advanced ADAS/AD systems is the key technology of future mobility and an area with high potential for market growth, in which the speed of development is paramount.”
The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023, subject to approval from foreign investment authorities. “Localized technology development grants the region more autonomy to further expand its position in the dynamic automotive market,” commented Ralf Brandstätter, member of the board at Volkswagen.
He said: “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. Teaming up with Horizon Robotics will allow Volkswagen to accelerate the development of automated driving solutions as part of our NEW AUTO strategy and drive the repositioning of our China business.”
Kai Yu, founder and chief executive at Horizon Robotics, said: “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… to develop next-generation technologies for smart vehicle users… Our integrated software and hardware will continue to position Horizon Robotics as a partner of choice for international automakers in China.”