Geely is aiming to become the first Chinese carmaker to design and build satellites to support its autonomous driving program, the latest step by founder Li Shufu in his bid to build a global industry leader, reported the Financial Times.
Geely Group, which owns Swedish brand Volvo Cars, Malaysia’s Proton and a stake in Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler, will invest RMB 2.27 billion ($325 million) in a new development center and factory to manufacture satellites this year, the company said on Tuesday.
The announcement makes Geely the first known Chinese automaker with plans to build its own satellites. The move by Li sparked comparisons in Chinese media with Elon Musk, the founder of electric carmaker Tesla and private space exploration company SpaceX.
The center will design, test and manufacture low-orbit communication satellites, which will be purpose-built to improve geolocation of vehicles and to support their connected functions, Geely said.