A Huawei 5G-ready Mobile Automation Engine is mounted atop a sedan on a road test. Photo: Handout

In what is an ambitious crossover into the car industry and transportation sector, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has launched the world’s first 5G-ready communications module for autonomous vehicles. The company now looks to apply its expertise and market dominance to blaze a new trail that feeds into its goals in the nascent worldwide roll-out of 5G telecommunications.

The Shenzhen-based firm claims that its MH5000 chip family is the world’s first 5G car module set capable of piggybacking on its own 5G gear and base stations to marshal traffic and guide self-driving vehicles for higher mobility. The MH5000 module is based on its Balong 5000 5G chip launched in January.

Huawei’s autonomous AI driving and cellular-connected car solution is riding on the coattails of 5G’s penetration into other industries. That is why probably no one was surprised to find the almost ubiquitous presence of the tech giant at a major show devoted to the automobile industry.

At the 2019 Shanghai Autoshow this month, Huawei’s rotating chairman Eric Xu delivered a speech on the convergence of the automotive and information and communications technology industries.

He noted that Huawei would start shipping its new chips to automakers, with emphases on a mobile data center in-vehicle computing platform, intelligent driving subsystem solutions, cloud-based services for autonomous driving (training, simulation, testing), 4G/5G in-vehicle communications moduled as well as people-car-home connectivity solutions.

A driver can control the autonomous driving kit from a mobile phone app. Photo: Handout

What comes along with the new chipset is Mobile Automation Engine, a solution composing AI chips, a CPU and sensors and cameras that sits on the roof of a car to enable autonomous driving using cellular networks.

Huawei expects that 5G cellular networks will evolve to handle various vehicle scenarios and add AI to manage multiple-vehicle scenarios to form a closed-loop “autonomy by layer” system.

The company said it has also partnered with British car maker Jaguar Land Rover and carrier Vodafone to demonstrate a cellular vehicle-to-everything car communications system.

Huawei is also set, in cooperation with Audi, to develop self-driving technology for cars to be sold in China. The partnership will develop so-called Level 4 technology, which refers to the Society of Automotive Engineers definition as a car that completely drives itself from start to finish within a specifically designated area.

Huawei showed off an Audi Q7 SUV outfitted with the Mobile Data Center rig at its Connect 2018 conference in October.

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