DJI will soon see its system embedded in a mass-produced electric vehicle TechNode

Drone maker DJI is set to see its in-vehicle system used on a mass-produced electric vehicle for the first time through a partnership with SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW), General Motors’ Chinese joint venture with SAIC Motor and Liuzhou Wuling Automobile, a small Chinese automobile company. On Thursday, the automaker announced it would launch an electric vehicle using DJI’s automated driving technology, making it the drone maker’s first major project in the competitive sector.

Why is this important: The launch marks a first step for the world’s largest consumer drone maker in its foray into China’s electric vehicle space and reflects the growing trend of traditional automakers partnering with tech companies to bring self-driving cars to market.

Details: The automaker said it has been working hand-in-hand with DJI in developing smart vehicles since 2019, investing “several billion RMB” in the project and having undergone 1 million kilometers (631,371 miles) of vehicle testing , in a statement (in Chinese) posted Thursday on SGMW’s WeChat account.

  • The statement is sparse on the details of the collaboration, but Chinese financial outlet Caixin reported that the automaker plans to adapt automated driving features developed by DJI on Wuling Baojun Kiwi EV, a two-door mini EV launched in August. last.
  • Full specs, pricing details and launch date for the revamped model remain unclear. The original Kiwi EV costs between 77,800 RMB and 86,800 RMB ($11,639 and $12,968) and has an estimated range of 305 kilometers (190 miles), according to the company.
  • Company insiders told Caixin that the on-board software will enable assisted lane changing, automated traffic jam driving and other automated driving technologies and that the vehicle’s features will receive regular software updates.

The context: DJI first launched its automotive unit in 2016 and has been operating with nearly 1,000 employees since last year as Shenzhen’s unicorn drone steps up its efforts to break into China’s booming electric vehicle market.

  • SGMW’s affordable Hongguang Mini EV was China’s top-selling electric vehicle model in 2021. It recorded sales of 395,451 units last year, easily beating BYD’s Qin sedan and Tesla’s popular Model 3, which sold 187,227 and 150,890 units respectively, according to figures from the China Passenger Car Association.
  • Chinese tech giants Huawei and Baidu also continue to expand in the industry, while young electric vehicle makers Xpeng Motors and Nio have jumped ahead of the competition by developing their own self-driving systems in China. internal.
  • Huawei and its manufacturing partner Chongqing Sokon are on track to roll out their second M7 electric vehicle model by the end of this month, while the telecom giant has also established partnerships with state-owned automakers BAIC, Changan and GAC, Chinese media reported in May. 28, citing the company’s general manager of consumer affairs, Richard Yu.
  • Baidu has partnered with domestic automakers such as BYD and Dongfeng, and plans to roll out its first mainstream car with partner Geely later this year, while also providing vehicle software technology to EV startup WM Motor. backed by the search engine giant.

Jill Shen is a Shanghai-based technology journalist. It covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles and electric cars. Connect with her via email: [email protected] or Twitter: @yushan_shen More by Jill Shen

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