Huawei has become the first smartphone manufacturer in the world to use an AI-powered smartphone to drive a car – and even avoid hitting a dog on the road.
Through its RoadReader project, the Chinese company put the learning capabilities, speed, and power of Huawei’s AI-powered device to the test.
Huawei said it used the embedded AI on its Mate 10 Pro smartphone to transform a Porsche Panamera into a driverless vehicle that doesn’t just see, but also understands its surroundings.
This means that the car is able to distinguish between thousands of different objects including a car and a dog, a ball or a bike and learn to take the most appropriate course of action.
The prowess of the technology was documented in a video launched on Feb 21 which showcased a five-week challenge Huawei gave itself to make it all happen.
In the video, Huawei Western Europe’s chief marketing officer Andrew Garrihy suggested that their smartphone is “already an outstanding at object recognition” and the next question was whether it could be pushed to the limits in a span of five weeks.
He said: “We thought: Could the AI that’s already embedded in our phone pilot a car, recognise objects, instruct the car to avoid them, and could we do all of that in five weeks?”
Most autonomous cars currently being developed, rely on the computing power of purpose-built chips developed by third party technology partners.
However, Huawei did away with this by utilising the technology already available in its own smartphones.
The Mate 10 Pro device uses AI to automatically recognise objects like cats, dogs, food and other items to help people take photographs like a pro.
But how does a phone interact with a car to make all this happen?
“The first thing we had to do with the car is to allow it to be robotically controlled. Then on top of that, we had to build a communication method that allows the phone to tell the car that it is a specific object.” said Duncan McKerracher, Huawei’s head of creative technology.
“As an example, it needs to understand the difference between a dog and cat.”