Chinese digital map provider AutoNavi, a subsidiary of e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), and Shanghai-based Qianxun Location Networks have formed a strategic partnership to provide customers with comprehensive services for "precision mapping + precision location." Currently being jointly developed by the two firms, the comprehensive solution for autonomous driving could hit the market as early as this year.
AutoNavi and Qianxun, which is a joint venture between Alibaba Group and state-owned weapons manufacturer Norinco Group, will partner on data, algorithms, location services, hardware, and applications.
A central aspect of the strategic partnership is the joint R&D of a comprehensive solution for suppliers and automobile enterprises, which will help driverless vehicles obtain precise location data in real time, and also provide timely and accurate information on the surrounding environment.
Qianxun Location uses China's Beidou Navigation Satellite System to provide precision location-based services. The LBS can provide 24/7 continuous tracking of vehicle movement in most areas of China.