Xiaomi presented its latest foldable smartphone, a humanoid robot and detailed plans for an initial CNY3.3 billion ($490 million) R&D spend on its autonomous driving project during a wide-ranging product update.

At the event, CEO Lei Jun detailed Xiaomi’s ambition to become a leader in the smart electric vehicle sector during 2024, a segment it only announced its entry into in March 2021 when it revealed it would spend CNY10 billion on it in the following ten years.

Jun noted Xiaomi had already recruited 500 staff to work in the sector and was testing some of its automated driving technology on roads. It plans to up its number of employees dedicated to the area by at least another 100.

The Chinese manufacturer previously enhanced its vehicle play with M&A activity in the sector.

Jun added in its initial phase of developing autonomous driving technology, Xiaomi plans to use a fleet of 140 test vehicles.

Unfolding challenge
Coming a day after Samsung’s latest foldables launch, Xiaomi unveiled its latest pitch in the emerging segment, the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2.

The device is the follow-up to the Mi Mix Fold released in 2021 and is initially only available in mainland China.

Xiaomi claimed its latest model is “significantly slimmer than many other foldable devices” at 11.2mm when closed.

The outside screen measures 6.56-inches with the internal at 8.02-inches, both of which use Samsung components.

It sports a 50MP main camera as part of a triple unit set-up including Leica technology and runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. Its battery is 4500mAh.

The device, a tablet and Redmi smartphone unveiled at the event will be available in mainland China starting from 16 August. The foldable starts at almost CNY9,000 for a 256GB model, with the highest-end version including 1TB storage costing CNY11,699.

Xiaomi also unveiled the eye-catching CyberOne humanoid robot, the latest device in the same range which includes a mechanoid dog.

The robot weighs in at 52kg, is 177cm tall and has an arm span of 168cm.

Xiaomi noted its creation had “the ability to detect human emotion, advanced vision capabilities and functionality allowing it to create three-dimensional virtual reconstructions of the real world, alongside a host of other advanced technologies”.