At the much-anticipated launch of the Mate 30 Pro, Huawei took the opportunity to highlight some of the other work they’ve been doing. Their smartphone business took a major blow today with their flagship phone launching without Google’s services. However, Huawei is a company that is involved in many businesses and automotive is one of them.
HiCar is a platform that Huawei has been talking about more and more in 2019, what everyone on Twitter got wrong, is that they viewed it as an Android Auto or Apple Car play competitor. HiCar is not a direct competitor to these services because it’s not an app that you can download and have it take over your cars infotainment system. It’s a service that Huawei is trying to sell to carmakers to integrate into their existing infotainment systems.
The telltale sign that HiCar isn’t a service aimed at the regular consumer is that HiCar is able to take control of the car windows and climate control. To control these systems you need to work directly with the carmaker as they have to give you API access. This isn’t as easy as it sounds or something they give a way lightly. I just took a look at Volkswagen’s new Infotainment system and they won’t be launching voice-activated climate control until the second major update. Controlling vehicle systems is not something that carmakers give up to just an app in the app store.
The fight for who owns the relationship with the person driving the car is fierce, the carmakers are in danger of losing out to Amazon’s Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Huawei is looking to partner with the car maker to give them highly integrated solutions that will work with the car.
Huawei is actually quite active in the automotive space, last year they partnered with Audi to work on a Level 4 autonomous driving solution. They’ve got a whole suite of services they’re looking to provide carmakers:
- MDC (Mobile Data Center) in-vehicle computing platform and intelligent driving subsystem solution
- Octopus: Huawei Cloud-based cloud service for autonomous driving (training, simulation, test)
- 4G/5G in-vehicle communication module/T-Box, network solutions
- HUAWEI HiCar people-car-home connectivity solution for all scenarios
Huawei is capable of providing the entire connected vehicle solution and even back in 2017 they joined Groupe PSA, the largest car manufacturer in Europe with multiple car brands under its umbrella, including Peugeot, Citroën, DS, and Opel, Vauxhall.
So if you think that Huawei is looking to directly take on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, think again, they want to enable carmakers to have solid solutions to keep you from using them. And if they do their job right, you’ll never even know that Huawei was involved.