The two signed a memorandum of understanding in July and have reportedly been testing since September, but haven’t said much about their team-up until now. Audi is poised to launch a development center in China in 2019.
Audi didn’t have much choice if it wanted to enter the category in China. The Verge noted that China places tight restrictions on the permissions for testing self-driving cars, including maps — the country sees foreign ownership of detailed map data as a security concern. Brands like Mercedes-Benz have formed partnerships with Baidu and other local companies to avoid these regulatory headaches and get on the road relatively quickly. If Audi didn’t cooperate with Huawei, it risked trailing its rivals or having to skip the entire market.