DJI’s Drone Tech Revolutionizes Affordable Driver Assist in China

Chinese drone giant DJI's automotive subsidiary, , is making waves in the Chinese auto industry by offering affordable Level 2 driver assistance technology to carmakers. By leveraging DJI's , DJI Automotive is reportedly able to provide self-driving capabilities at a fraction of the cost of its competitors, with prices starting at just 5,000 yuan ($692) per vehicle.

DJI Automotive's Partnerships and Upcoming Launches

DJI Automotive, which spun off from DJI in 2023, has already partnered with several major Chinese automakers, including Volkswagen, FAW Group, Dongfeng Motor, SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile, and Chery Automobile. At least 20 models equipped with DJI Automotive's technology are set to launch this year, with Volkswagen releasing one such model through its joint venture with SAIC Motor on May 30 and planning another launch in June through a separate venture with FAW Group.

Affordable Technology Attracts Automakers

DJI Automotive's relatively cheap price tag, starting at 5,000 yuan per vehicle, is a major draw for automakers. Tang Jin, a senior research officer at Mizuho Bank, stated, “DJI Automotive's product is a breakthrough in terms of price. If more automakers use it, it could spur competition and accelerate the adoption of driver assistance technologies.”

Cost-Cutting Measures and Drone Technology

To keep costs down, DJI Automotive uses cameras and relatively inexpensive semiconductors instead of , radar, and cutting-edge chips. The company draws on technology used in DJI's Phantom 4 drone, which tracks its own location, direction, and surroundings via two optical sensors.

China's Growing Market and National Priority

The Chinese market for devices used in driver assistance systems is expected to quadruple from 2022 to 170.4 billion yuan ($23.6 billion) in 2025, accounting for around 40% of the global market. China sees the adoption of driver assistance technology as a national priority, aiming for Level 2 and Level 3 vehicles to make up 70% of new-vehicle sales and for Level 4 vehicles to make up 20% by 2030.

Future Plans and Competition

DJI Automotive plans to launch a product with self-driving capabilities on regular roads by year-end, which will cost 7,000 yuan ($969) per vehicle and would be suitable for vehicles starting at 150,000 yuan ($20,760). The company is also considering partnerships with Japanese automakers. However, competition in the field is expected to grow, with Tesla racing to launch full self-driving capability in China and Chinese EV maker BYD working to bolster its technological capabilities.

DroneXL's Take

DJI Automotive's entry into the Chinese auto industry with affordable driver assistance technology is a game-changer. By leveraging DJI's drone technology, the company is making self-driving capabilities accessible to a wider range of vehicles and consumers. This move not only has the potential to accelerate the adoption of driver assistance technologies in China but also to drive innovation and competition in the global automotive industry. As more companies enter the fray and push the boundaries of what's possible with autonomous driving, we can expect to see exciting developments in the near future, with drones playing an increasingly important role in shaping the future of transportation.

Photo courtesy of DJI Automotive.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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