Chinese telecoms company Huawei is to work on fitting motorways in Russia with optical systems that support the use of autonomous vehicles.
A memorandum of understanding for the project was signed on Wednesday, 7 October by Vyacheslav Petushenko, chairman of state-owned road builder Avtodor and Xiao Haijun, Huawei’s general director for Eurasia.
According to Avtodor, the companies will work on fitting roads with "optical communication lines" to support automated control systems and "serve as the basis for the infrastructure of unmanned vehicles".
They will also ensure that drivers have mobile phone coverage throughout their journey.
Russia is emerging as an important overseas market for Huawei, which has struggled to sell its 5G systems in Europe in the face of hostile US diplomacy and a ban on using American technology.
Vasily Shpak, a senior official at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, has said that the Chinese company would be allowed to operate in the Russian market in exchange for technology transfers.
Huawei has signed an agreement to start production in Russia of specialised server equipment based on Chinese processors.
Last year, Huawei announced plans to invest more than $10m in the development of its mobile services ecosystem in Russia. It vowed to spend around $8m to promote 5G technology in the country and train 10,000 specialists by 2025.
It has also teamed up with Russian operators for the rollout of next-generation networks, and helped launch the first 5G test zone in Moscow.
Image: Russia’s federal highway system (Uwe Dedering/CC BY-SA 3.0)