Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is getting a license to develop high-precision maps, fueling speculation that the telecom equipment giant is gearing up to tap into the autonomous driving business.
Information published by the Ministry of Natural Resources showed that Beijing Huawei Digital Technologies Co. Ltd., a unit of Huawei, won approval for entering the high-precision map business. Capacity to make high-precision maps is a key part of developing autonomous driving technologies.
A person close to Huawei told Caixin that the company has long sought to tap into the digital map business through acquisition but failed to find a proper target. Huawei has yet to comment on the matter.
Digital map development requires massive investment of capital and time, analysts said. China has granted licenses to more than 10 companies to develop high-precision maps, but only five of them have successfully launched digital mapping services, including Baidu, AutoNavi and NavInfo.
The person close to Huawei said the license will make Huawei eligible to launch autonomous driving tests even if it doesn’t develop the mapping services on its own.