Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Self-DrivingMercedes-Benz to adopt smart driving solution from Chinese startup Momenta, report says

Mercedes-Benz to adopt smart driving solution from Chinese startup Momenta, report says

Mercedes-Benz’s all-electric CLA model will be equipped with a high-level intelligent driving solution from Momenta that does not rely on high-definition maps, and will be capable of pilot assisted driving in urban areas, according to local media.


Mercedes-Benz will reportedly adopt a smart driving solution from Chinese startup Momenta, as the German luxury automaker increases its bet on driver assistance capabilities.

Mercedes-Benz’s all-electric CLA model will be equipped with a high-level intelligent driving solution from Momenta that doesn’t rely on high-definition maps, and will be capable of pilot assisted driving in urban areas, local media outlet 36kr reported today.

The model will feature Nvidia’s Orin smart driving chip and is scheduled to go into production in April 2025, according to the report.

The partnership with Momenta is the first time Mercedes-Benz has adopted a technology solution from a Chinese smart driving supplier, and the electric CLA will be the first Mercedes-Benz model to feature city pilot assisted driving, the report noted.

Momenta, headquartered in Shanghai’s neighboring city of Suzhou, was founded in 2016, and one of its co-founders was Ren Shaoqing, who joined Nio (NYSE: NIO) in August 2020 to lead smart driving research and development.

Momenta covers China and a number of international markets, including Germany, Japan and the US, and has received strategic investments from SAIC Motor Corp (SHA: 600104), General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Bosch, according to its website.

In early 2017, when Momenta was less than six months old, Daimler Group, which owns Mercedes-Benz, participated in its Series B funding round, 36kr’s report noted, adding that Mercedes-Benz also participated in the Chinese startup’s Series C funding round in 2021.

China’s smart driving space is seeing stiff competition, with Huawei, Nio, Xpeng (NYSE: XPEV), and Xiaomi all already offering pilot assisted driving features.

Mercedes-Benz has been slow in comparison, with its latest smart driving progress still stuck at the end of 2023, when its new E-Class long-wheelbase version supports pilot assisted driving on the highway, 36kr’s report noted.

The absence of high-level smart driving features undermines the brand premium and in turn limits Mercedes’ sales growth rate, the report said.

The CLA is one of the key models in Mercedes-Benz’s coupe lineup, targeting a younger, trendier demographic that is more receptive to high-level smart driving features, the report said.

The new CLA is based on Mercedes-Benz’s second all-electric platform, MMA (Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture), and will be mass-produced in April 2025, when point-to-point pilot assisted driving features will be available, according to 36kr.

There are currently three product lines planned by Mercedes-Benz in China that support high-level smart driving features, the report said.

Mercedes-Benz is considering a continued push to localize L2+ smart driving, and future high-level smart driving features in China will likely be developed exclusively by teams or suppliers from China, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Mercedes-Benz has already made some efforts in the smart driving space in China over the past few years.

In July 2022, a Mercedes-Benz subsidiary signed a memorandum of cooperation with Tencent’s smart mobility unit to launch a strategic partnership around high-level autonomous driving.

In December 2023, Mercedes-Benz said it became one of the first companies approved to conduct L3 self-driving road tests on highways in Beijing.


This article was first published by Phate Zhang on CnEVPost, a website focusing on new energy vehicle news from China.

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