China’s LeEco unveiled its own self-driving electric car concept at a Beijing press conference earlier today, adding to the laundry list of products currently produced by the “Netflix of China”.
LeEco chief executive Jia Yueting demoed some of the self-driving capabilities at the event, including driving and parking. Yueting controlled the car through voice commands on a mobile device, a different approach to Google and Tesla that still use a touch interface.
The car, named the LeSee, is still in concept stage, as far as we can tell. Yueting made no mention of specifications or price, but in the video teaser we got to see rear suicide doors and back seats that change shape to fit passengers bodies. Touchscreens are also fitted in the back seats, and Yueting said the car will feature face recognition and self-learning, though he did not demo this at the event.
We will hopefully get a clearer picture of the self-driving car at Beijing Auto Show on April 24, which LeEco are attending, according to Engadget.
Not LeEco’s first foray
It is not LeEco’s first foray into the self-driving market, it owns the startup Faraday Future, which introduced its self-driving concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.
For those that haven’t heard of LeEco — previously LeTV — the company started as an entertainment provider in China. It holds a large amount of copyright content for TV shows and movies. In the past few years, it has made significant investments in new technologies, like mobile, smart TVs, music, and cloud computing.
While the company hasn’t outright said it, the pushes into new hardware appear to be an attempt to create a ‘hardware-software-services’ ecosystem similar to Apple. That makes the move into self-driving cars less bizarre, as drivers will spend more time watching videos, listening to music, and messaging friends rather than driving in the future.