Tesla isn't the only space-adjacent OEM anymore.
For those who don't know, both Volvo and Lotus are owned by a Chinese holding group known as Geely, or Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, if you've got an extra second to get the pronunciation down pat. Both brands have committed to a greener, more technologically-advanced future for themselves, as evidenced by cars like the Lotus Eletre and Volvo XC40 Recharge. Both are motivated by electric motors instead of gas ones and feature a number of advanced driver assists.
So, what do you do when you need to make those driver assists more advanced? You go to space. Geely has announced it conducted its first successful satellite launch on June 1. Nine total satellites were shot into orbit via the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China. Those satellites are there to help provide more accurate navigation for the brand's vehicles, like Volvo and Lotus.
Of course, Geely and its subbrands aren't the only automakers in space. Far from it. Tesla has its adjacent SpaceX, after all. SpaceX currently has more than 2,000 satellites in orbit, providing StarLink internet. Geely plans to have far less than that. The Chinese brand says it'll have another 63 satellites in orbit by 2025, with that number eventually climbing to around 240 in the coming years.
The satellites themselves will be providing hyper-accurate positioning support for the brand's self-driving cars. Geely has said its network will also be used for other commercial functions, much like those SpaceX satellites. For example, the Geely satellites will provide communications services for the Asian Games come September this year.
As we've heard, space is getting a little crowded. Take a look at any current map of in-orbit manmade space objects to see what we're on about. However, Geely says that won't be an issue. The new satellites will have an operational window of five years, after which they'll simply drop out of the sky, disintegrating in the atmosphere, leaving no debris behind.
Evidently, that means we can expect more driver-assist tech in Volvo and other Geely-owned vehicles in the coming years. Unfortunately, Geely didn't specify in what capacity, aside from the location-tracking capabilities of the satellites. We imagine those specifics will be coming from Geely's brands over the coming months and years.