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June 18, 2021

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Xiaomi is speeding up autonomous car business

Xiaomi Corp, which plans to invest US$10 billion over 10 years in autonomous driving and car manufacture, is speeding up business expansion with patent applications, aggressive recruitment and investment.

It has applied for 446 smart-driving-related patents globally, covering wireless communication, autonomous driving, vehicle control, Internet of Vehicles and gesture control. The proportion of invention patents is as high as 99.33 percent, according to data from PatSnap, which provides patent data and analytics services.

Based on intelligent analysis, Xiaomi’s patent number will grow rapidly between 2021 and 2023, said PatSnap, which has raised investment from Softbank and Tencent.

On Xiaomi’s website, several dozen autonomous driving jobs are on offer, covering data platform, vehicle infrastructure, millimeter-wave algorithm, development tools, embedded software, high-precision map and simulation platform, all based in the company’s Beijing headquarters. Applicants for the majority of the jobs are “urgently needed.”

Research center

Xiaomi’s autonomous driving research center will be in Beijing, according to media reports, but the company declined to comment yesterday.

In March, HK-listed Xiaomi said it will invest US$10 billion in the electric car business over the next decade. It will establish a wholly owned subsidiary for electric cars with Lei Jun, Xiaomi’s CEO, head of the new business.

China is the fastest-growing intelligent mobility market but faces a shortage of intelligent mobility talent, as firms invest in autonomous driving and new energy car sectors with many new and competitive players such as Huawei and Xiaomi, LinkedIn reported.

Xiaomi has also joined other investors to invest in two autonomous driving firms, Zongmu and Hesai, based in Shanghai. Hesai, a market leader in 3D-sensors (Lidar), has announced it is to raise US$300 million, with major investors including Xiaomi and Meituan. Founded in 2014, Hesai’s 3D laser sensing technology can be used in autonomous driving and robotics applications.

Other Chinese firms also have a large number of patents on autonomous driving, including Huawei with 7,800 and Baidu with 4,000, according to data from PatSnap.


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