Nope, Huawei isn’t getting into the autonomous car business. The Chinese telecom giant set up this experiment to show off the processing prowess of the flagship phone’s Kirin 970 chip, which features an artificial intelligence engine.
In November, Huawei unveiled the Mate 10 Pro and the vaunted AI engine in the Kirin 970. It began selling the phone in the US in February, although without a carrier partner.
Herkelmann said that since the launch, he’d been inundated with questions about how exactly its AI works. MWC 2018 presented a chance to show off those capabilities.
Enter the road reader challenge. The company wanted to see if the phone was smart enough to recognize objects like a dog, a soccer ball or a person on a bicycle and tell the car to maneuver away. (Don’t worry. The company used cardboard stand-ins.) The engine was fed more than 1 million images and can recognize 1,000 objects.
Huawei spent five weeks putting this project together — and you could kind of tell.
There was no polished self-driving car that you would find from Alphabet’s Waymo unit or Uber’s autonomous fleet. Missing were any sophisticated radars and depth sensors.
Huawei chose the Panamera because it wasn’t already a self-driving car. The company’s engineers mounted a high-speed camera on the roof, which provided a constant video feed to the phone of everything in front of the car. They also rigged up simple robots to help control the gas, brake and steering wheel.
A developer called Kerve created an app with a simple user interface, allowing you to tap a button on the phone to get the car going.