Taiwanese electronics supplier and assembler Foxconn is due to debut an electric vehicle (EV) platform by the end of this year with advanced driver assistance systems rated at level 2. This will be similar to the technology used by carmakers such as Tesla and Nissan. The company also said it would release a higher level of autonomous driving capability in 2022.
Japanese autonomous driving startup Tier IV is part of the Foxconn project. Its founder and CTO Shinpei Kato said in an interview that the first-generation EV Kit would provide Level 2 autonomous cars, Chinese media reported on Sunday.
Level 2 autonomy indicates that the vehicle can control both steering and accelerating/decelerating. The automation, however, still falls short of self-driving as a human is required to sit in the driver’s seat.
Best known for supplying and assembling parts for tech giant Apple, Foxconn (formally Hon Hai Precision Industry Company) announced the MIH initiative last October with the aim of “levelling the playing field in the EV industry” through its open EV platform project. MIH will be an independent entity by July 2021, Foxconn said.
The company said in October that the MIH project aims to help EV makers cut costs and release new models more quickly. The world’s biggest contract electronics manufacturer also added that it aimed to become “the Android of EVs”.
As one of the world’s largest foundries, Foxconn Chairman Liu Yangwei also stated that the company plans to supply parts or services for 10% of the world’s EVs (approximately 3 million) between 2025 and 2027.
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Level 4 autonomous driving is expected to be integrated into the next version of the EV Kit planned for 2022. This is when Tier IV’s own open-source operating systems for driverless cars – dubbed Autoware – is expected to be ready, said Kato.
Level 4 indicates high driving autonomy, whereby the vehicle can intervene if things go wrong or there is a system failure. This means that cars don’t require human interaction in most circumstances. However, a human still has the option to manually override.
The MIH project under Foxconn includes almost 1,700 partners and is designed to lower the barriers to entry into the EV market. Companies involved include Arm Holdings, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Texas Instruments and Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL).
Tier IV, backed by Japanese insurance company Sompo Holdings, supplies self-driving vehicle technology for the Toyota e-Palette that will be deployed in the Olympic Village for the 2020 games in Tokyo.
Recently, Foxconn announced that it had signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Stellantis to form a new joint venture named Mobile Drive.
Separately, Foxconn recently outlined an agreement to create another joint venture with Thailand’s state-owned energy conglomerate PTT to produce EVs in Thailand, according to GlobalData’s deals database.