China-based Black Sesame Technologies announced on May 19 that it will provide local carmaker Hongqi Auto with its Huashan-2 A1000L series chips to enable an autonomous driving platform. In addition, the pair plan to start mass-producing vehicles based on the chip next year.
Black Sesame said it had become a smart driving chip supplier of Hongqi for the latter's FEEA 3.0 platform. Hongqi is a China-based luxury brand owned by the FAW Car Company.
According to an announcement, Black Sesame's Huashan-2 A1000L series will support Hongqi's autonomous driving domain control platform integrating driving and parking. The company said the platform will apply to 80% of Hongqi's models.
The duo has been developing two vehicles, E001 and E202, based on the A1000L chip. Black Sesame said they will begin the mass production of the two models in 2024 at the earliest.
Founded in 2016, Black Sesame focuses on developing high-performance computing chips and platforms to enable autonomous driving and vehicle-to-everything(V2X). According to the company, the Huashan-2 A1000L chip offers a computing power of 16TOPS(INT8) and has entered volume production.
It also said its Drive Sensing, based on the A1000L chip, is the industry's only driving-and-parking-integrated solution that can be mass-produced with an SoC. The solution supports Level 2+ autonomous driving and Navigate on Autopilot (NOA), as well as other features.
The partnership between Black Sesame and Hongqi is another case of China's homegrown automakers using local chip suppliers, partly because of the geopolitical tension between China and the US.
According to China Popular Computer Week, the first customers of the country's top chip developers are mostly state-owned car companies. For example, Horizon Robotics supplied Changan Automobile in 2020. Black Sesame first offered its A1000 pro chips to FAW.
China Popular Computer Week reported that automotive OEMs have to work directly with chip and software suppliers as cars become more intelligent. Car companies need more control over their products and shorten the development cycle. With the change and the chip scarcity, more China-based chip developers have risen to be automotive suppliers.