HAVAL has now officially unveiled their latest ideas at Auto China 2018 in Beijing. Easily their most impressive was their first fully autonomous pure electric SUV, the WEY X. This concept, should it make it to production, will offer Level 5 autonomous driving (sometime around 2025), this means AI systems in the WEY X will mirror that of a highly trained human driver, in scenarios including dirt roads and bad weather.
For me it’s the design of the car that is really the stand out, with almost all auto makers heading towards electric powertrains and autonomous driving. SUVs are typically more difficult to make look interesting and what’s on offer here is totally unique. From the big aero efficient front that sucks in the air and keeps the batteries cool, to the low-drag wheels, to the roof line and sharp angles to the body, it’s all accentuated by that vibrant orange paint. The exterior is finished with attention grabbing, scissor doors. While these look crazy, they actually open to an angle that allows easy entry for both rows of seating.
Design isn’t everything, so the WEY X will also use technology as a key point of difference. Engineers have replaced traditional keys and buttons in the WEY X with a full biometric identification system. Each registered user can create their own individual set-up, including seats, music preferences and preferred navigation information.
The car is also designed to leverage vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) technology to help identify and predicts potential risks in advance to minimise the potential for accidents.
The company’s newest brand – Ora – was officially launched at the show. Ora will be dedicated to the development and manufacture of pure electric vehicles. Two concept vehicles were displayed at the show – the Ora R1 and Ora R2. Both electric minicars are built on a new platform dubbed ‘ME’, which incorporates maximum wheelbase in a small compact package.
Initially designed for domestic consumption only, the Ora range of production EVs are expected to go on sale later this year.
HAVAL also released details of its electric motor development, which to date has seen a 60 million dollar investment. A new production line has been set up to build electronic motors and controlling units, with a total capacity of 300,000 units annually.
Get ready, Chinese brands are coming to take on the best in the world and if the WEY X is any indication, the challenge will be fierce.
HAVAL also released details of its i-Pilot smart driving system, being developed collaboratively by engineers from the R&D centres in North America, China and India. It has already achieved an L3 autonomous driving level.
The system is currently undergoing road testing with an expected production start date of 2020, built initially for operation on main highways in China. It will be able to autonomously handle unique conditions such as roadworks and traffic jams.
i-Pilot 2.0 is being simultaneously developed, for unmanned driving in specific urban conditions. It can be used to support new functions including car sharing remote control via mobile telephones.
In 2023, i-Pilot 3.0 will be introduced to take advantage of increased development in V2X (vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure) technology.
The program will culminate in 2025 with i-Pilot 4.0 that will offer a full L5 autonomous driving experience. This is designed to ensure the HAVAL SUV can fully achieve autonomous driving under normal road conditions, with no driver intervention required.
HAVAL also released details of a new strategic cooperation memorandum with Baidu, the Chinese IT giant. The two companies will carry out strategic cooperation into vehicle internet connectivity, autonomous driving, car sharing and big data to increase intelligent vehicle technology.