China's Geely Auto Group Building Network of SATs for Self-Driving Cars
Your Car in Contact with Space
Chinese automaker Geely has a space-based plan for "steering"autonomous cars. It is in the process of building its own network of satellites to provide advanced geolocation and connected vehicle functions for self-driving cars. This is a first in China and Geely's satellites will be solely used to support its autonomous driving vehicles. It's a very innovative concept to use satellites to track, communicate with and help guide self-driving cars.
Geely is a huge automotive player. It owns Sweden-based Volvo cars, US flying car startup Terrafugia, Malaysia's Proton and has a $9 billion stake in Daimler, the owner of Mercedes Benz. Geely hopes to share and benefit from Daimler automotive technology. Geely is currently integrating Volvo with Geely operations, which will create a huge, global automotive brand. Now, Geely is kicking off its satellite network with a $325 million investment to build a development center and factory to manufacture the sats. Construction in Taizhou city is underway.
Low Orbit Communications Satellites
Geely's satellites will be low orbit communications sats for geolocations and to support connected functions for self-driving vehicles. This is reminiscent of Elon Musk's two main businesses, the electric vehicle giant Tesla and his powerful space company, SpaceX. Musk has successfully combined synergies from his automotive and space businesses. It appears Geely has a similar concept in mind. Musk's Tesla operations have been rapidly growing in China.
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