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Volkswagen makes huge investment in Chinese chip manufacturer

Volkswagen office: Milan Suvajac, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Volkswagen has announced that it will invest a total of $2 billion into Horizon Robotics, a Chinese computer chip and robotics company.

Volkswagen has been attempting to improve its computing and software chops significantly over the past year. Foremost, the auto group had a significant leadership shift to better focus on software improvement. But Volkswagen has also created partnerships with American chip manufacturer Qualcomm, as well as European chip maker STMicroelectronics. Now, according to Reuters, the company has continued its partnership push, acquiring 60% of Horizon Robotics.

According to Reuters’ reporting, the Volkswagen/Horizon Robotics deal will focus on software and hardware regarding autonomous driving. Hopefully, helping the German company compete in self-driving technology is now dominated by competitors. Specifically, Tesla has become an influential player in the technology, but legacy automakers such as Daimler-Mercedes, Hyundai-Kia, and even General Motors are also considerable competitors.

With the deal with Horizon Robotics, Volkswagen now has a partnership within every major economy; North America, Europe, and Asia. This partnership could prove helpful in limiting transportation costs and keeping supply chains for different regions more independent. However, the particular focus on the deal with Horizon Robotics in China is purposeful. Volkswagen products have had trouble competing with Chinese domestic (BYD and SAIC) and American alternatives (Tesla and General Motors).

It is important to note that this deal comes at a time of upheaval regarding German/Chinese diplomacy. The German Trade Ministry recently tabled a policy that would have forced all German corporate investments into China to be overviewed by the German government. And while Reuters reports that this policy has been temporarily tabled, it also indicates that relations between the two countries have become strained.

It remains unclear when VW customers will begin to recognize the corporate changes regarding software improvements, especially as so many are waiting for crucial updates for their Volkswagen ID.4s. Hopefully, this indicates a positive direction for the company and can lead to a better software experience for future customers.

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Volkswagen makes huge investment in Chinese chip manufacturer
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