Xiaomi, now known around the world as a smartphone and consumer electronics brand, formally announced its plans last September to manufacture electric vehicles. Xiaomi, which is building a large factory in Beijing capable of making 300,000 vehicles a year, is working on four electric car models — two in the mid-range and two in the high-end segments.
And now, a photo of an autonomous vehicle, with the Xiaomi sticker, has surfaced thanks to a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
The photo shows a blue sedan that has a LiDAR system on the roof and stickers on the side that say ‘Xiaomi Autonomous Driving Test’ in Chinese and ‘Xiaomi Pilot Test’ in English.
Interestingly, according to Chinese media reports, the vehicle bears a resemblance to BYD’s Han EV. It is further stated in the reports that Xiaomi has purchased 200 BYD Han vehicles to collect autonomous driving data.
So basically it’s not the Xiaomi vehicle pictured, but it’s just testing autonomous driving technology. Xiaomi’s use of BYD vehicles for testing is not surprising, as it was previously suggested that it would use BYD batteries.
Xiaomi car project: investments and product timeline
News about Xiaomi’s auto crash, particularly EVs, has been incomplete so far. Three names for the company are being considered. They are: Xiaomi Automotive Co, Xiaomi EV Inc and Xiaomi Automobile Technology Co. Be that as it may, but Xiaomi has made public many patent applications related to automobiles. And two of which are in the field of autonomous driving. One of the two refers to the vehicle control method and the other one is about an image processing method, device, vehicle and readable memory medium.
Xiaomi will invest $10 billion in car manufacturing over the next 10 years in a bid to build a major car brand. Last November, Xiaomi, through its automobile subsidiary, signed a contract with the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area Management Committee to build a headquarters for its automotive business and its sales and R&D base in Yizhuang (a Beijing suburb). Xiaomi’s first vehicle is expected to roll off the production line and reach mass production in 2024. Initially, the factory will have a capacity of 150,000 EVs and will soon double to 30,000 EVs per year.
Xiaomi had said last year that it had acquired DeepMotion, a self-driving technology company, for about $77.37 million.