Huawei Mate 10 Pro Becomes World's First Phone To Drive

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Porsche Self Driving Screenshot

The Mate 10 Pro recently became the world’s first smartphone to drive a car, with one of Huawei’s teams leveraging the artificial intelligence-enabled hardware of the device to come up with a simple object recognition service meant to allow a vehicle to detect and avoid obstacles. The video below shows a succinct recap of the company’s efforts to develop such a solution, with the final setup including a special Porsche Panamera model rewired in order to be controllable by Huawei’s latest Android flagship. The smartphone itself has been installed on the dashboard but didn’t scan the road using its dual-camera setup designed by Leica. Instead, its hardware processed the information collected by other sensors installed in the vehicle in order to make decisions on the go.

Huawei’s engineers claim they only took five weeks to develop the service as they challenged themselves to deliver a workable solution within that precise timeframe after first coming up with the idea. The Chinese tech giant calls the project “RoadReader” and is touting it as yet another piece of evidence proving that its object recognition hardware and software are of the industry-leading variety. Huawei claims its custom-built Porsche Panamera isn’t just capable of seeing its environment but can also understand it, being able to distinguish between thousands of various objects. The company’s short video demonstration had the car accurately recognize a dog and opt for an evasive maneuver in order to avoid a collision, with that entire process being powered by the Mate 10 Pro, i.e. the HiSilicon Kirin 970’s neural processing unit.

Huawei claims the success of its trial proves that even its consumer-grade chips are already powerful enough to rival the cutting-edge silicon built specifically for autonomous vehicles. The RoadReader project will be showcased at Barcelona, Spain-based MWC 2018 scheduled to take place next week. The trial isn’t the first occasion that saw Huawei collaborate with Porsche; the two firms have been releasing Porsche Design-branded smartphones for years now, whereas the Huawei Watch Porsche Design also made its way to the market last summer. The company’s latest Android flagship recently released in the West, including the United States, though Huawei’s retail partnership with AT&T ended up falling through over political pressure from Washington concerned about the firm’s close ties to Beijing, according to recent reports.