Hon Hai partners with Nvidia to develop self-driving vehicles

TAIPEI, Jan 4 (CNA) – Taiwan-based manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. has partnered with American graphics chip designer Nvidia Corp. teamed up to develop platforms for automated and autonomous vehicles.

Under the strategic partnership agreement, iPhone assembler Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn in international markets, will act as a tier one manufacturer to introduce electronic control units based on the NVIDIA DRIVE Orin platform for the global automotive market, Nvidia said in a Statement released Tuesday (US time).

The American tech giant said electric vehicles (EVs) manufactured by Hon Hai would be equipped with DRIVE Orin ECUs and DRIVE Hyperion sensors to develop self-driving capabilities.

According to Nvidia, the automotive-grade NVIDIA DRIVE Orin system-on-a-chip achieves up to 254 trillion operations per second and is designed to handle the large number of applications and deep neural networks running simultaneously in self-driving vehicles.

NVIDIA DRIVE Hyperion is a modular development platform and reference architecture for designing autonomous vehicles.

The combination of NVIDIA DRIVE Orin and NVIDIA DRIVE Hyperion will serve as the brain and central nervous system of an autonomous vehicle to process massive amounts of sensor data in real time and ensure the safety of the autonomous vehicle, Nvidia said.

“This strategic collaboration with NVIDIA strengthens the intelligent driving solutions Foxconn can offer. Together, we enable industry to build energy-efficient, automated vehicles,” said Eric Yeh (葉光釗), senior director of Hon Hai’s Software Development Center, said in the statement.

“This is a considered partnership that leverages unique strengths on both sides to pursue innovative EV developments and opportunities,” said Yeh.

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Nvidia said the partnership with Hon Hai would allow NVIDIA to further expand its efforts and meet growing industry demand as more transportation leaders choose DRIVE Orin for smart vehicles, while Hon Hai’s efforts in building electric vehicles with the qualified sensor set was expected from DRIVE Hyperion to accelerate its time-to-market and time-to-cost strategies.

Speaking to CNA, Hon Hai said a move to collaborate with Nvidia aims to help the company offer self-driving solutions based on a “Contract Design and Manufacturing Service (CDMS)” business model.

In addition, Hon Hai said the collaboration will also help the company develop and manufacture Autonomous Driving Control Units (ADCUs) for EV production.

In recent years, Hon Hai has intensified its efforts under its “3 plus 3” initiative to transform itself from a pure contract electronics manufacturer into a company able to integrate its hardware and software strengths and its increase profit margin.

The “3 plus 3” initiative refers to three emerging industries – electric vehicles, robotics and digital healthcare – which use artificial intelligence, semiconductor and communication technology. Electric vehicles have become an important part of the initiative.

Hon Hai has also pushed for the MIH EV open platform, which was initiated by Hua-Chuang Automobile Information Technical Center Co., a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Yulon Motor, and aims to build the platform as the “Android of the electric vehicle industry.”

To date, the MIH Alliance has a total of 2,561 members from 68 countries and regions around the world.

Ahead of the deal with Nvidia, Hon Hai’s high-precision connecting component subsidiary FIT Hon Teng Ltd., whose shares are traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, announced on Monday that it had reached an agreement to acquire automotive wire harness maker PRETTL SWH Group for €186 million ( $197 million) for the horizontal expansion of its core competencies in EV components and mobility solutions.

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