In an exciting development, Michigan-based automotive electronics supplier Visteon has signed a “strategic cooperation agreement” with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., LTD. Automotive Engineering Institute (GAC Engineering) to design and develop self-driving cars and “other cockpit electronics solutions.”
The two industry leaders finalized the deal in January, 2018 at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
GAC Engineering serves as the R&D wing of Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Group). Visteon, though originally part of Ford Motor Company, is no stranger to the Chinese market having maintained some level of operation there for years.
Per Visteon’s announcement, the partnership will center on pairing their new DriveCore platform (which was introduced at CES) with a GAC Group vehicle program. The two companies intend to have that program launched in 2020.
The new collaboration is in line with Visteon’s prior efforts to improve automobile cockpits. They’ve already made strides in improving displays, driver controls, and multimedia connectivity within personal vehicles. Now, they’ll further bolster their presence in the world’s largest automotive market.
For their part, GAC Group has been active in the field of autonomous vehicles. This February, two fully automated GAC Chuanqis (one of the company’s compact SUV’s) were featured as part of Pony.ai’s Guangzhou launch. Bringing Visteon into the fold will only hasten their progress on self-driving vehicles.
GAC Engineering and Visteon will begin their work at Level 3 and higher on the SAE Autonomy Scale. Level 3, or Conditional Automation, is the point at which the vehicle is capable of steering, acceleration/deceleration, and monitoring the driving environment. However, at this level, human drivers do still need to intervene when prompted.
At Level’s 4 and 5 (High Automation and Full Automation, respectively), driver’s are taken out of the picture almost entirely.