Continental Invests in Chinese Self-Driving Company Motovis
Continental has become the latest Western firm to invest in a Chinese autonomous driving tech company.
Shanghai-based start-up Motovis announced earlier this week that it had secured a C-round strategic investment from the German automotive parts giant.
The total amount of financing in the round runs to hundreds of millions of yuan, and the pair say they will work together on accelerating the mass production of driver assistance tech.
Although light on specific detail, a statement from Motovis confirmed its efforts will be focused on the Chinese market, where it will pursue cost-effective autonomous solutions.
The intention is to develop driver-assistance tech that can be applied to all types of Chinese OEM passenger cars, ranging from low-cost to high-end models. The jointly developed solutions will support mainstream computing chip platforms and be easily scalable, and the time frame is ambitious, with mass production of vehicles fitted with the tech targeted for next year.
Motovis was founded in 2015, and first made headlines in 2016 when it developed China’s first automotive-grade advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) based on deep learning. Over the past five years, it has deployed full-stack autonomous systems for passenger vehicles and business fleets and developed driver assistance features that include a forward-collision warning system, lane departure warning system and parking assistance.
Dongfeng and Shaanxi Automobile are among the domestic manufacturers it has worked with in China.
Continental’s Head of ADAS Frank Petznick claimed the investment and partnership had the potential to bring major benefits to the company globally.
“As one of the world leaders in autonomous driving, we are strengthening our investment in the Chinese market, enhancing local R&D capacity and using Chinese innovation to drive the global driving research and development of our business group,” he said. “Continental will work with Motovis to … promote the mass production of autonomous driving projects.”
Yu Zhenghua, founder and CEO of Motovis, added: “The two sides complement each other’s advantages and we look forward to working closely with Continental to accelerate the development process and realize an open ecosystem and data platform.”
Continental’s investment in Motovis comes mere weeks after fellow Bosch announced it was partnering with Guangzhou-based WeRide to develop autonomous driving software as Western companies increasingly recognize the benefits of teaming up with firms in China, where the autonomous vehicle (AV) market is moving forward with great momentum.