At the end of August this year, the Chinese consumer electronics giant Lenovo announced that it would not build its own cars, but instead would concentrate on the area of car computing. However, on October 11, LCFC, a subsidiary of Lenovo, released an autonomous driving domain controller called the EA-R600.
As the largest PC R&D and manufacturing base under Lenovo, LCFC, established in 2011, is actively engaged in the field of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). The EA-R600 is the first autonomous driving capable Edge AI series product developed by the subsidiary.
The EA-R600 is equipped with two NVIDIA Jetson AGX Orin core modules, and data transfer is via the high-speed express bus for connecting on-board peripherals. The whole device can provide up to 550 TOPS Edge computing power, and the two computing units can work independently or together, ensuring real-time and efficient processing power.
The EA-R600’s rich interface design is easy to maintain and upgrade. It can meet the functions and high scalability requirements of sensor access, perception fusion, planning and decision making for autonomous driving.
In addition, LCFC said that the EA-R600 can integrate the chip solutions and autonomous driving software systems, which can fully meet the needs of sanitation, distribution, inspection and cargo transportation.
There is much speculation as to whether Lenovo intends to build vehicles. As early as 2005, Lenovo reorganized Jinan Auto Parts Factory and established a new auto parts company. Since then, the company has developed various car parts such as dash cams. Today, Lenovo’s smart auto parts areas have included artificial intelligence, natural language processing, machine learning and intelligent data, speech recognition, and computer vision.
In fact, Lenovo has paid attention to the auto parts industry and taken the initiative to invest in a number of auto parts companies. In 2016, Lenovo Capital invested in CATL through equity transfers and participated in NIO‘s C-round financing. Lenovo has also invested in chip companies like Cambricon and BYD Semiconductor. Lenovo Capital is involved in funding autonomous driving companies such as Qcraft, Black Sesame and VisionNav Robotics.
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In August of this year, a job vacancy at the Lenovo Research Institute in Shanghai sparked widespread speculation that the company wanted to make cars. The scope of recruitment included an autonomous driving director, a person in charge of the in-vehicle infotainment system, senior hardware managers and software managers, senior mechanical managers and more with annual salaries ranging from several hundred thousand yuan to one million yuan.
At the end of August, Lenovo officially declared that it would not build cars, but instead use its advantageous resources to support the development of smart cars. At present, the company has set up an in-vehicle computing laboratory, which focuses on R&D and the application of core technologies related to intelligent cockpits, autonomous driving and core computing platforms.