Huawei Showcases AI-powered Smartphone Capable of Driving a Car

Huawei Showcases AI-powered Smartphone Capable of Driving a Car

Author: Michael Cheng   

These days, smartphones can be equipped with extraordinary capabilities, such as facial recognition and autonomous driving. The latter feature was recently showcased by Chinese tech juggernaut Huawei, using the Mate 10 Pro.

During the demonstration, the company connected the mobile unit to a Porsche Panamera. The smartphone served as an AI-powered, image-recognition system for the vehicle, allowing it to detect obstructions without help from a human driver. Impressively, the AI-sensing features were developed over a span of five weeks under Project RoadReader.

Project RoadReader

Is Huawei jumping into the self-driving car race? Based on the demonstration conducted, the answer is most likely no – but that doesn't mean the smartphone maker will be completely absent in the rapidly proliferating sector (more on this later).

Instead, the company used the event as an opportunity to display the Mate 10 Pro's computing and image-processing capabilities, using a built-in Kirin 970 chip. In the trial, the phone actively detected the presence of dogs and bikes (during the test, cardboard cutouts were deployed). Upon detection, the unit correctly identified various obstacles on the screen of the device and provided solutions in real-time to avoid collision.

"Our smartphone is already outstanding at object recognition. We wanted to see if in a short space of time we could teach it to not only drive a car but to use its AI capabilities to see certain objects and be taught to avoid them," explained Andrew Garrihy, CMO at Huawei Western Europe.

In the artificial intelligence space, Huawei has teamed up with Baidu, via a partnership agreement signed in late 2017. The collaboration entails the development of an ‘open mobile AI ecosystem' leveraging Huawei's HiAI platform and neural network processing capabilities, as well as Baidu's robust deep-learning framework (PaddlePaddle).

For autonomous vehicles, the strategic partnership is highly relevant. Baidu is also in the process of developing driverless car platforms with various businesses in the automotive sector, including NVIDIA.  

Huawei and 5G Technology for Driverless Cars

It seems that large tech companies are slowly finding their roles and niches within the nascent autonomous driving industry. Huawei's position as a telecommunications giant ensures it can support self-driving vehicles using 5G technology and networks.

This is the company's clear path to success in the sector, along with Telefónica, which the business partnered with earlier this month. The two groups demonstrated the first Proof-of-Concept (PoC) testing bed, designed for V2X protocols (5G-V2X). During the trial, engineers successfully applied the cutting-edge 5G New Radio Standard.

Such capabilities provide up to 99.99 percent reliability and one-millisecond latency. Moreover, the 5G Standard decreases signal interference through polar coding, which can boost data transmission quality.

SCMA-based (Sparse Coded Multiple Access) Grant Free Access frequency domain was also tested during the trial. The technology can improve latency during data transmission, when performing autonomous driving maneuvers, including platooning.

"The 5G-V2X PoC is another joint effort to pave the way for commercialization of 5G and lay a solid foundation to realize the 5G vision of enabling cooperative autonomous driving," said Wen Tong, CTO at Huawei Wireless.

Michael Cheng
Michael Cheng
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
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