DeepRoute and Tencent have partnered in the mapping space to create smart driving cars that don't come with HD maps.

DeepRoute to fit its autonomous driving solution that doesn't rely on HD maps into consumer cars in 2024-CnEVPost

(A car integrated with DeepRoute Driver 3.0 and Tencent SD map drives in Shanghai. Image credit: DeepRoute)

DeepRoute, an Alibaba-backed Chinese autonomous driving company, will start fitting its autonomous driving solution that doesn't rely on high-definition (HD) maps into consumer cars this year, promising to accelerate the penetration of smart driving features in China.

DeepRoute announced a partnership with Tencent in the mapping space on January 9 to create smart driving cars that don't carry HD maps.

The joint solution will be integrated into consumer vehicles that will debut in 2024, covering sedans, SUVs and MPVs, marking the first commercial implementation of DeepRoute-Driver 3.0 and Tencent's standard definition maps, according to a press release.

DeepRoute was founded in February 2019, and in April 2021 became the first company to be permitted to conduct robotaxi manned testing in Shenzhen.

On September 14, 2021, DeepRoute announced the completion of a $300 million Series B round led by Alibaba, making it the first such company the e-commerce giant has invested in China.

It released its new Driver 3.0 solution in March 2023, which it said is a solution that does not require HD maps and facilitates mass production for automakers.

Driver 3.0 consists of two versions, D-Pro and D-Air, with hardware costs of $2,000, and $1,000, respectively, according to DeepRoute's March 2023 statement.

Standard definition navigation maps offer wider coverage and substantially lower costs than commonly used HD maps and customized maps, DeepRoute said yesterday.

Driver 3.0 has completed adaptation with a number of sedans, SUVs and MPVs, and has completed tests in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing, according to the company.

"The integration of our solutions and Tencent Map into upcoming smart driving car models, expected to hit the market in 2024, serves as a testament to the success of our strategic shift towards L2+ smart driving solution," said Maxwell Zhou, CEO of DeepRoute.

DeepRoute looks forward to expanding its smart driving capabilities to international markets, Zhou added.

Smart driving is seen as one of the key capabilities of electric vehicles (EVs) and has become a major factor influencing consumer car purchases in China.

Major EV startups are developing their own autonomous driving systems, while suppliers, including DeepRoute, offer new options for car companies looking to save on investment.

China is the world's largest EV market and has also become the highest seller of vehicles with high-level assisted driving systems.

In the first three quarters of 2023, China sold 810,000 vehicles with L2 and higher-level assisted-driving systems, higher than the US's 440,000 and Germany's 37,000, according to a December 31 report from market researcher Canalys.

China has 37 car brands offering vehicles with L2+ systems, compared with 15 in the US and 12 in Germany, according to Canalys.

Alibaba-backed DeepRoute unveils self-driving solution that doesn't require HD maps