After a year of collaboration, Volkswagen’s software subsidiary, Cariad, and Horizon Robotics are making notable progress in their joint venture. The collaboration, internally referred to as “VW” within Horizon Robotics, aims to enhance Volkswagen’s capabilities in Level 2 assisted driving, high-speed navigation assistance, and automatic parking.
Volkswagen has invested USD 2.4 billion in the joint venture and holds a controlling 60% stake. Over a hundred employees from Horizon Robotics’ internal software algorithm team will be transferred to the “VW” project, increasing the team size to around 300 members. Huang Chang, the co-founder and CTO of Horizon Robotics, has been appointed to lead the joint venture.
In the Chinese market, intelligent driving has become highly competitive, with automotive companies and suppliers striving to stay ahead. Unlike the slow pace of transformation in Europe, Chinese automakers are rapidly advancing in this field.
Volkswagen’s Cariad has encountered challenges, facing a USD 2 billion loss last year and trailing behind Tesla and BYD in China’s electric vehicle market. In response, Volkswagen has implemented an “in China for China” strategy, focusing on technology and software development for the Chinese market. The collaboration with Horizon Robotics is a vital part of this strategy.
Apart from the joint venture, Volkswagen has also directly invested approximately USD 700 million to acquire a 4.99% stake in Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng Motors. This investment allows Volkswagen to access mature intelligent driving technologies, including the G9 platform and high-definition urban maps, which are already under development.
Meanwhile, Horizon Robotics is prioritizing the development of advanced autonomous driving solutions. In addition to its partnership with Volkswagen, the company has formed a joint venture with Chang’an Automobile called Changxian Zhineng. With Horizon Robotics focusing on software and algorithm development, the smart cockpit business will be delegated to its subsidiary.
The highest volume of chips shipped by Horizon Robotics are its Journey 2, Journey 3, and Journey 5 chips. However, even the most advanced Journey 5 chip only enables high-speed navigation assistance. To address this, Horizon Robotics is developing its next-generation chip, Journey 6, which aims to catch up and provide advanced self-driving features.
By reshuffling personnel and reorganizing resources, Horizon Robotics can concentrate on the development of advanced chips and algorithms for self-driving. This joint venture and collaboration with Volkswagen enhance Horizon Robotics’ position in the competitive intelligent driving market.