(Yicai Global) Oct. 21 -- Chinese new energy vehicle startup Nio is planning on developing its own self-driving chips, according to an insider.
Chairman Li Bin has already presented the company's executives and shareholders with a briefing but they have not yet discussed it, tech news outlet 36Kr reported today, citing a person familiar with the matter.
A core executive at the Shanghai-headquartered firm refused to comment on the report.
Nio has recently established an independent team called Smart HW Hardware and Li has been looking for technical leaders with Silicon Valley backgrounds for a few months, the report added.
The playbook resembles that of Tesla. First, Nio will use suppliers to achieve mass production and after that, begin building its own manufacturing capacity, the report suggested. Tesla used chips made by Israeli Mobileye and US Nvidia at the beginning, and then came up with its own.
Nio is expected to use some of its funds next year on the chip project while the annual budget is finalized at the end of this year, the insider added.
The investment could be anything from CNY1 billion (USD150.4 million) to USD1 billion, based on how much the company will do from scratch, said a semiconductor sector insider.
Rivals have not yet followed suit. Li Auto and Xpeng, two other Chinese carmakers that are listed in the US, are currently not planning on making their own chips, according to the same report. They both use Nvidia’s next-generation Orin chips in their vehicles.
Editor: Emmi Laine