Vietnam's FPT looks to put self-driving cars on Asian roads
IT company to challenge global giants with low-cost tech
ATSUSHI TOMIYAMA, Nikkei staff writer
HANOI -- Vietnam's FPT aims to jostle into competition among industry titans like Apple and Google over autonomous vehicles by commercializing a low-cost system within the next two years.
The country's leading information technology company is targeting about $200 million in annual sales from the business in 2020.
FPT last year set up a 1,000-person team dedicated to developing self-driving technology. In October, it unveiled an autonomous driving system.
Having developed a miniature car model equipped with a self-driving system featuring a 360-degree camera and various sensors, the company is now looking to install the system on real vehicles and start conducting road tests.
FPT is working with Japanese, American and South Korean automakers, and its system will likely be used in new car models produced in Asia, a company executive said.
Autonomous driving technology is a core component of the Hanoi-based company's focus on the "internet of things." Other fields of interest include robotics, electronic medical records and smart power grids.
The competition over self-driving cars is growing, particularly among U.S.-based giants like Google, Apple and Tesla. The technology could quickly gain traction in Southeast Asia as the region's upper and middle classes expand.
FPT posted a 14% increase in total sales to 40 trillion dong ($1.76 billion) in 2016. It expects the figure to grow to 47 trillion dong this year.