DONGGUAN, Guangdong – Huawei’s move into the automotive ecosphere has taken another major step.
Less than four months after China’s leading global provider of ICT (information & communications technology) infrastructure and smart devices vehemently said at Auto Shanghai 2019 that it does not plan to make cars but rather wants to become a value-added component supplier, the much-anticipated HarmonyOS was unveiled at the annual Huawei Developer Conference (HDC) held at the company’s Songshan Lake base here on August 9.
The announcement comes just a day after Huawei released the Global Industry Vision (GIV) whitepaper which predicted that 15 percent of vehicles globally will be embedded with Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology by 2025, one of the 10 technology trends shaping the future of how people live and work.
HarmonyOS could be deployed in vehicle terminals within three years
The new microkernel-based, distributed operating system designed to deliver a cohesive user experience across all devices and scenarios was launched after much anticipation amidst the ongoing tussle with the U.S. over technology and security issues.
“We’re entering a day and age where people expect a holistic intelligent experience across all devices and scenarios. To support this, we felt it was important to have an operating system with improved cross-platform capabilities,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, of the company’s thoughts behind developing the new OS. “We needed an OS that supports all scenarios, that can be used across a broad range of devices and platforms, and that can meet consumer demand for low latency and strong security.”
HarmonyOS is completely different from Android and iOS, according to Yu. It has trustworthy and secure architecture, and supports seamless collaboration across devices. Apps can be developed once and flexibly deployed across a range of different devices.
“The HarmonyOS connects everything and opens up a trillion-dollar market. HarmonyOS is not just for today and tomorrow, but is the catalyst for all technology in the future,” said Yu. “Huawei is dedicated to innovating our underlying technologies, including chips and OS, and tackling common pain points, all with the goal of helping our customers and developers.”
HarmonyOS is a lightweight, compact operating system with powerful functionality, and it will first be used for smart devices like smart watches, smart screens, in-vehicle systems, and smart speakers. Through this implementation Huawei aims to establish an integrated and shared ecosystem across devices, create a secure and reliable runtime environment, and deliver a holistic intelligent experience across every interaction with every device.
The company said it expects HarmonyOS to be deployed first in vehicle terminals, wearables as well as the Huawei Vision within three years. In the future, more intelligent devices will run on the open-source HarmonyOS. In addition to the HarmonyOS, Huawei also launched the Android-based EMUI10, which is designed for Huawei smartphones and tablets.
An all-scenario, intelligent experience sets a high bar for connectivity, so HarmonyOS was designed with four distinct technical features to deliver on its promise to consumers:
1. Seamless: First-ever device OS with distributed architecture, delivering a seamless experience across devices;
2. Smooth: Deterministic Latency Engine and high-performance IPC;
3. Secure: Microkernel architecture that reshapes security and trustworthiness from the ground up;
4. Unified: Multi-device IDE allows apps to be developed once and deployed across multiple devices.
“We believe HarmonyOS will revitalize the industry and enrich the ecosystem,” added Yu. “Our goal is to bring people a truly engaging and diverse experience. We want to invite developers from around the world to join us as we build out this new ecosystem. Together, we will deliver an intelligent experience for consumers in all scenarios.”
Huawei also launched the HUAWEI HiCar, a smart connection solution that connects people, home and the car, at the HDC. The HUAWEI HiCar offers smart connection between the smartphone and the car, virtual sharing between the smartphone and car resources and seamless experience across devices inside and outside the car. Essentially, it is Huawei’s version of the AndroidAuto and CarPlay, and offers HiCarKit that connects smartphone apps into the car and HiCar SDK that connects hardware into the car.
Intelligent transport: C-V2X key to autonomous driving
Huawei said in the GIV whitepaper that by 2021, the intelligent transport industry will be worth $220 billion. By fully utilizing 5G, intelligent connected cars, IoT, quantum computing, and other intelligent technologies, a “healthy” intelligent transport system can help ease the lives of busy urban residents, reduce travel costs and travel time, and boost efficiency across the city.
By 2025, the global market for autonomous vehicles will soar to $2 trillion, according to IHS Research. Traffic accidents will be reduced, and fuel consumption and air pollution will drop by 10 and 20 percent respectively.
“‘Green-light journeys’ will be standard much sooner than you might imagine, because of highly-automated, intelligent, and user-friendly city infrastructure. And a congestion free city will have a faster-growing economy, as goods and services circulate faster and faster,” said the whitepaper.
That’s where C-V2X comes in, according to Huawei.
By combining intelligent cloud centers, edge computing, and ubiquitous connections, cities can transmit and analyze the vast amounts of data generated by people, vehicles, and urban streets in real time. Data from complex traffic systems can be crunched in an intelligent analytics hub to instantly calculate optimal routes, adjustments to traffic light timings, and vehicle dispatch. Since an intelligent transport system needs to process massive volumes of multi-dimensional data and handle extremely complicated algorithms, advances in quantum computing will be a major benefit on the computation side. According to GIV forecasts, 20 percent of big companies expect to benefit from quantum computing.
As more vehicles are connected via technologies such as C-V2X, they’ll be able to communicate with each other, with traffic lights, and with the city traffic control center. In the event of an emergency, the central systems will immediately generate the most efficient solution using real-time data on traffic across the entire city. It will then issue instructions to all relevant vehicles so that they can clear a temporary emergency route.
Huawei indicated in the whitepaper that Audi China has completed China’s first V2X test under real highway conditions. During this test, with the help of AI the company’s L4 self-driving car successfully changed routes in multiple real highway scenarios, performing actions such as emergency braking, accident warnings, automatic diversion, automatic lane change, deceleration, and emergency stops. L4 self-driving cars will become more widely used in the future, with AI algorithms analyzing broader road scenarios and automatically arranging alternate routes and lane changes. Vehicles will also cooperate with each other on traffic control, taking action to change lanes, merge lanes, or choose alternates.
The nine other trends and examples of GIV’s key predictions for 2025 are as follows:
Living with Bots: Advances in material science, perceptual AI, and network technologies are powering the uptake of robotics in a variety of home and personal scenarios. GIV predicts a 14 percent global penetration rate of home robots;
Super Sight: The convergence of 5G, VR/AR, machine learning, and other emerging technologies will let us see beyond distance, distortion, surface, and history, opening up new vistas for people, business, and culture. GIV predicts that the percentage of companies using AR/VR will increase to 10 percent;
Zero Search: As data-driven and sensor-equipped appliances and devices begin anticipating our needs, information will find us. Future searches will be button-free, personal social networks will be created effortlessly, and industry will benefit from “zero-search maintenance.” GIV predicts that 90 percent of smart device owners will use intelligent personal assistants;
Working with Bots: Already transforming many industries, smart automation will take on more hazardous, repetitive, and high-precision tasks – a boon for safety and productivity. GIV predicts that there will be 103 robots in industry for every 10,000 employees;
Augmented Creativity: Cloud AI will cut the cost and barrier of entry to scientific experimentation, innovation, and art, opening up a goldmine of creative potential that’s available to all. GIV predicts that 97 percent of large companies will have deployed AI;
Frictionless Communication: AI and big data analytics will create seamless communication between companies and customers and break down language barriers. Accuracy, understanding, and trust will underpin tomorrow’s communications. GIV predicts that enterprises will fully use of 86 percent of the data that they produce;
Symbiotic Economy: Companies across the planet are adopting digital tech and smart applications on unified access platforms – that means greater collaboration, resource-sharing, stronger global ecosystems, and higher productivity. GIV predicts that every company everywhere will be using cloud technology and 85 percent of business applications will be cloud-based;
5G’s rapid rollout: 5G is here and it’s landing far faster than any previous wireless generation – the potential for individuals, businesses, and society is enormous. GIV predicts that 58 percent of the world’s population will have access to 5G;
Global Digital Governance: Advancements in digital tech must be balanced by shared data standards and principles for data use. GIV predicts that the annual volume of global data will reach 180 ZB (1 ZB = 1 trillion GB).