Biz / Tech

Xiaomi speeds expansion in autonomous driving

Zhu Shenshen
Beiging-based company applies for 446 smart driving patents which include wireless communication and autonomous driving with over 99 percent of them invention patents.
Zhu Shenshen

Xiaomi Corp, which is investing US$10 billion over 10 years in autonomous driving and car manufacture, is speeding up business expansion with patent applications, aggressive recruitment and investment.

It has applied for 446 smart driving related patents globally, covering wireless communication, autonomous driving, vehicle control, Internet of Vehicles and gesture control. The proportion of invention patents is as high as 99.33 percent, according to data from PatSnap, which provides patent data and analytics services.

Based on intelligent analysis, Xiaomi's patent number will grow rapidly between 2021 and 2023, said PatSnap, which has raised investment from Softbank and Tencent.

On Xiaomi's website, several dozen autonomous driving jobs are on offer, covering data platform, vehicle infrastructure, millimeter wave algorithm, development tools, embedded software, high-precision map and simulation platform, all based in the company's Beijing headquarters. Applicants for the majority of the jobs are "urgently needed," according to the website.

Xiaomi is to place its autonomous driving research center in Beijing, according to media reports, but the company declined to comment on Thursday.

In March, HK-listed Xiaomi said it was to invest US$10 billion in the electric car business over the next decade. It will establish a wholly-owned subsidiary for electric cars with Lei Jun, Xiaomi's CEO, head of the new business.

China is the fastest-growing intelligent mobility market but faces a shortage of intelligent mobility talent, as firms invest in autonomous driving and new-energy car sectors with many new and competitive players such as Huawei and Xiaomi, LinkedIn said in a recent report.

Xiaomi has also joined other investors to invest in two autonomous driving firms, Zongmu and Hesai, based in Shanghai.

Hesai, a market leader in 3D-sensors (Lidar), has announced it is to raise US$300 million, with major investors including Xiaomi and Meituan. Founded in 2014, Hesai's 3D-laser sensing technology can be used in autonomous driving and robotics applications.

Besides Xiaomi, other Chinese tech firms have a large number of patents on autonomous driving, such as Huawei with 7,800 and Baidu with 4,000, according to PatSnap.

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