The 18th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition was held on April 16th, 2019. Hesai Technology was invited to exhibit its latest products – the Pandar64 (64-channel mechanical LiDAR) and PandarGT 3.0 (third-generation solid-state LiDAR). During the media day on April 17th, Dr. Kai Sun, chairman of Hesai Technology, and Dr. Kai Yu, founder & CEO of Horizon Robotics, jointly announced a strategic cooperation between the two companies.
Hesai specializes in designing and manufacturing laser sensors, primarily LiDARs for self-driving vehicles and robots. Horizon Robotics is a world leader in developing deep learning and decision-making algorithms. Its main business focuses on edge AI computing, providing high-performance, low-power and low-cost chips and computing platforms for autonomous driving solutions.
According to Dr. Yu, cars are a hot topic because they are so much more than mechatronic products, but instead four-wheeled supercomputers and a pillar of the information industry. With long-term growth in mind, Horizon Robotics positions itself to be the enabler of “AI on Horizon”, providing fundamental AI capabilities and building scenario-based differentiated products with partners in the AI ecosystem. The collaboration with Hesai follows this idea: Hesai’s world-class LiDAR products and Horizon’s powerful AI computing platforms can synergize into high-performance LiDAR perception solutions that facilitate the development and application of highly autonomous driving technology.
During the signing session, Dr. Sun from Hesai delivered a speech outlining the strategic reasons for cooperating with Horizon:
1. Both companies are technology-driven and possess strong engineering cultures
This lays the foundation of an open-minded collaboration – the two companies will jointly leverage their deep understanding of the technology and the industry to provide the best perception solution for customers.
2. Both companies share an international vision
Hesai and Horizon target similar markets and both have won over clienteles that include world-leading OEMs, tier 1s and self-driving companies, demonstrating impressive success in global competition against other top tech companies.
3. Clear product definitions and a common focus
Horizon concentrates on the development of AI-accelerated chips, while Hesai is devoted to developing LiDARs for autonomous driving applications. This specialization strengthens the collaboration effort and benefits both companies in the long term.
The strategic cooperation between these two advanced technology companies is a positive for the autonomous driving industry as well. Perception, modeling, decision-making, path planning and control are all integral to realizing L3+ autonomous driving capabilities, of which perception is still a fundamental challenge. The self-driving vision can only come true with a perception solution integrating LiDARs, radars, and cameras. LiDAR perception places high demands on sensors, computing platforms and algorithms. The premium LiDARs independently developed by Hesai and Horizon’s low-power, high-performance AI chips can be combined to create fully intelligent sensing functions. These functions will be made available through open-source hardware and tool chains, allowing self-driving technology companies to write their own algorithms into customized autonomous driving solutions. Such an open cooperation model will bring new possibilities to the industry.
AI on Horizon, Journey Together! Drawing on each other's advantages, the strategic cooperation between Hesai and Horizon is expected to produce high-performance LiDAR perception solutions that facilitate the development and application of highly autonomous driving technology.