Chinese auto OEM, Cowin Auto, is looking to develop smart and connected passenger vehicles in partnership with smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi and internet search giant Baidu, according to reports in the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald this week.
Sources close to Cowin said that the company is in talks to co-invest in a connected car research lab with Xiaomi and Baidu. Their goal is to produce an affordable car that appeals to the electronics- and smartphone-obsessed 20-32 age group.
In an online post earlier this month, Cowin’s deputy general manager Zheng Zhaorui hinted at the sort of technologies that the collaboration aimed to develop, including the ability to unlock the car through palm identification on windows, an intelligent operating system with a virtual dashboard, and simulation games.
Cowin, which is scheduled for its official debut at the Chengdu Auto Show in September, is a spin-off company of Chery Automobile, a state-owned auto manufacturer.
Chery owns 50% of Cowin, which was established last year when Chery founder and deputy managing director Lu Jianhui branched off with a team of 200 workers. The name Cowin was formerly a sub-brand under Chery that focused on making cheap vehicles for young drivers, but it is now developing new vehicles from scratch.
Cowin has also confirmed that its first vehicle with an intelligent operating system will be an Italian-designed SUV, scheduled for release at the end of 2015.