Tencent is launching a separate division to offer cloud services and algorithms to automakers vying to join the smart mobility megatrend.

Based on in-house auto artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing technologies, Tencent’s internet-of-vehicles (IoV) solutions for carmakers will include networking services, algorithms for autonomous vehicles, and location-based services (LBS).

A company spokesman confirmed Monday with TechNode that Zhong Xuedan, vice president of Tencent Auto Intelligence, was appointed head of the team under the Cloud and Smart Industries Group (CSIG).

Tencent unveiled its vehicle-to-everything (V2X) open source platform in a corporate event in late May, along with the launch plan for its entirely voice-enabled WeChat services for connected vehicles by year-end.

The Chinese tech giant says its V2X technology boosts GPS accuracy within one meter, compared with industry averages of between five to 10 meters. The V2X platform also enables real-time traffic updates and surround monitoring systems to improve safety for drivers, with the additional help of sensors and algorithms deployed on highways, Chinese media reported.

So far, Chinese internet behemoths, including Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei, and Baidu, have all set up dedicated mobility teams, hoping to get a head start to support future connected and autonomous vehicles. Huawei made its first debut as a Tier One supplier at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show in April with a set of solutions including in-vehicle networking services and communication modules.

Alibaba began creating its vehicle operating system in 2014, and brought it to market two years later in collaborations with automakers including Ford, Volvo, and state-owned SAIC Motors. The e-commerce giant is reportedly developing apps for connected vehicles allowing drivers to find restaurants and order food using voice and touch control.

A recent study from PwC forecasts that the shared on-demand mobility services, also known as Mobility as a Service (MaaS), will offset declining auto sales to account for 30% of profits in the US, EU, and China automotive industries by 2030 compared with 26% profit for new car sales. Traditional original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will need to transition into flexible, agile digital service providers alongside their traditional car sales businesses, PwC said in the report.

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen

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