Yesterday, Xiaomi announced the acquisition of Deepmotion, a Chinese autonomous driving startup based in Beijing and valued at US$ 77.4 million. Xiaomi’s President, Wang Xiang, said in a statement that the company plans to focus on the development of Level 4 autonomous driving technology, which allows vehicles to drive themselves without the need for human involvement.
As per the official statement, Xiaomi purchased 28.84 percent of Deepmotion’s preferred shares for US$14.9 million in cash, then paid US$62.47 million in cash and shares to acquire 71.16 percent of Deepmotion’s ordinary shares. Wang told reporters that through this acquisition, Xiaomi intends to decrease the time to market for its autonomous driving product. The company also aims to use this acquisition to boost autonomous driving research and development.
Xiaomi is the latest Chinese company to jump the bandwagon of the autonomous driving vehicle market. This year in March, Xiaomi revealed plans to build its own line of electric vehicles, with a $10 billion investment over the next ten years. Furthermore, the Chinese corporation stated that it intends to hire 500 specialists and engineers to work on creating autonomous driving technologies for future automobiles.
The acquisition was announced after the electronics giant reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, in which it overtook Apple Inc. to become the world’s second-largest phone vendor by shipments, thanks to a rebound in key market regions like India and legal restrictions against established Huawei. In the quarter ended June, revenue increased by 64 percent to 87.79 billion yuan ($13.6 billion), exceeding the 85.01 billion yuan average estimate.
According to Canalys, Xiaomi’s share of the worldwide smartphone market increased by 83 percent year over year in the quarter ending in June. For the first time in its history, it delivered 52.8 million phones, earning the status of the world’s second best-selling brand, after Samsung but ahead of Apple. Xiaomi’s IoT and lifestyle business in international countries also grew 93.8 percent year over year in Q2 2021, as goods like electric scooters and wearables gained popularity.
Deepmotion, founded in 2017 in Beijing by former Microsoft Research Asia employees Chi Zhang, Kuiyuan Yang, Rui Cai; delivers full-stack self-driving software solutions with high-precision mapping and positioning technologies, as well as environmental perception capabilities. Its major product is DeepMotion Client, an intelligent advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) device that performs localization at 10cm accuracy without relying on RTK and delivers ADAS functionalities such as lane departure warning, pedestrian recognition, and collision warning. It also has DeepMotion Cloud, which receives and combines billions of observations from crowdsourced DM-100s into 3D semantic maps.
Bloomberg News reports that after Xiaomi acquired Deepmotion, it is also planning to invest in Black Sesame Technologies, a company that creates artificial intelligence chips and systems for automobiles. Earlier, Xiaomi had invested in autonomous driving companies such as ZongMu Technology, Hesai Technology, and AiParking, to name a few.