Drone company DJI reportedly working on self-driving technology

BEIJING / SHENZHEN, China – China’s SZ DJI Technology, the world’s largest drone maker, is building a technical team to work on self-driving technologies, according to job openings and people familiar with the company’s strategy.

The Shenzhen-based company is hiring engineers for automotive electronics, autonomous driving and in-car software, according to job postings posted on the website.

Three people said DJI plans to sell driver assistance systems such as lidar sensors, an important part of self-driving cars, and packaged solutions for autonomous driving functions.

All sources spoke on the condition of anonymity as the details are not yet public.

DJI said it had no new announcements at this point.

DJI has been developing lidar technology and cameras for years, two of the sources added.

In 2020, Livox, a startup with links to DJI, showed two lidar sensors for autonomous vehicles at a Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Xpeng Inc has said it would use Livox’s lidar technology for self-driving functions.

DJI’s move comes as several hardware and software technology companies race to tap into the autonomous future of the automotive industry.

Huawei Technologies, which makes communication machines and smartphones, has set up an automotive business unit and develops sensors. Baidu, which has worked on autonomous driving and smart car technologies, is partnering with Geely to create its own cars.

According to consultancy DroneAnalyst, DJI dominates the global small drone business with a market share of 69%. Research firm Frost & Sullivan estimated the market would be worth $ 8.4 billion last year.

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In December, the company was added to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s entity list, reportedly because its technology is being used to facilitate human rights violations in China.