HOZON Auto Launches R&D Center in Silicon Valley to Explore Autonomous Driving
【Summary】Chinese automaker HOZON Auto has officially opened its Autonomous Vehicle Research Center in Silicon Valley, marking a step-forward in building out its global strategic R&D layout.
Chinese automaker HOZON Auto has officially opened its Autonomous Vehicle Research Center in Silicon Valley, marking a step-forward in building out its global strategic R&D layout, and opening up a new path for global autonomous driving technology.
HOZON is the 13th car company to be granted a license for manufacturing new energy vehicles (NEVs) in China. The company is focused on R&D for intelligent internet-connected new energy vehicles with autonomous driving functionality. The company's first vehicle will be a compact SUV.
Established in Tongxiang, Zhejiang province in 2014, Hozon was co-founded by Beijing Sinohytec Co. Ltd. and Zhejiang Yangtze Delta Region Institute of Tsinghua University with a registered capital of nearly RMB 630 million. HOZON is based in Jiaxing City in Zhejiang Province. Vehicle production is set to start in 2019 with an initial annual capacity of 50,000 cars.
Earlier this year, HOZON Auto established a global R&D strategy that focuses on building R&D centers worldwide in five cities across four countries, including the Autonomous Vehicle Research Center in Silicon Valley, Italy Torino Design Center, German Engineering and Technology Center, and Shanghai and Jiaxing R&D Centers. The Italy and German locations are still under construction.
The HOZON Auto Autonomous Vehicle Research Center in Silicon Valley is an important part of HOZON's global strategic R&D efforts. The center will focus on the research of autonomous driving and AI, and lead the development and industrial application of autonomous driving technology worldwide through open source architecture system platforms and deep learning technology.
With the development of information technology, smart, connected cars have become the industry's top investment and development trend. The U.S. HIS report predicts that by 2035, the global sales of smart (driverless) vehicles will approach 12 million.
The huge market attracts investment from many companies including traditional carmakers and innovative technology firms. However, there are different paths for the development of autonomous driving technology.
To speed development of autonomous driving technology, traditional automakers have been establishing partnerships with tech firms such as Google, Baidu and Intel. However, HOZON's approach is different, as the company has the strong foundation of a traditional car company combined with software, hardware, algorithms, AI, deep-learning and autonomous driving technology associated with a tech company.
With its expertise in both, HOZON Auto has opened up a third path for R&D of autonomous driving, which is to combine the advantages of these two types.
Peng Qingfeng, vice president of HOZON Auto, said: "The autonomous driving market in the future is massive and extremely alluring, but the competition is also very fierce, which is both a challenge and an opportunity. After all, everyone is on the same starting line, and time will tell who reaches the end first."
In December of 2017, Hozon Auto secured and investment of RMB 1.25 billion from Zhihe Travel, making the company the largest shareholder.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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