BEIJING -- Zhejiang Geely Holding Group said on Tuesday it is investing 2.27 billion yuan ($326 million) in a new satellite manufacturing plant in China, where it plans to build low-orbit satellites to provide more accurate data for self-driving cars.
Geely, one of China's most internationally known companies due to its ownership of Volvo and investments in Daimler and Proton, is building the facilities in Taizhou, where it has car plants.
The company aims to produce 500 satellites a year by about 2025, when it expects its cars will have more functions to connect to the satellites.
Geely's technology development arm, Geely Technology Group, launched Geespace to research, launch, and operate low-orbit satellites in 2018. Around 300 highly skilled staff are working on the project, Geely said.
Geespace will begin the launch of its commercial low-orbit satellite network by the end of this year, Geely said.
The company said low-orbit satellites would offer high speed internet connectivity, precise navigation, and cloud computing capabilities to cars with autonomous-driving technology. They will also meet demand for high-speed connectivity capabilities that can deliver fast software updates to vehicles.
Geely, which sold 2.18 million cars last year, is among global automakers from Tesla to Toyota racing to pursue self-driving technologies.