Barcelona, Spain - Chinese telecoms giant Huawei used the artificial intelligence capabilities of its flagship Mate 10 Pro smartphone to drive a sports car as the Mobile World Congress got under way in Barcelona on Monday, in what it said was a world first.

The Porsche avoided several obstacles, including a dog and a bike, as it drove in a straight line to demonstrate the AI-powered object recognition technology in the phone's camera.

The company said it was "the first mobile device manufacturer in the world to use an AI-powered smartphone to drive a car," saying the technology was able to distinguish between thousands of different objects and thereby able to avoid any collision.

Huawei said the test was designed to demonstrate its phone's AI capabilities; it did not plan to develop a new driverless car. 

Arne Herkelmann, who heads Huawei's handset portfolio in Europe, said: "The smartphone totally controls the vehicle, we did not do anything except for steering elements.

"The camera sees that there is something on the road, recognises what it is and acts to avoid it, we trained our AI to be able to recognise a road and its possible obstacles."

Huawei was the world's third biggest seller of smartphones in 2017, after Samsung and Apple, holding a 10.4 percent market share, up from 9.5 percent a year earlier, according to figures from research firm IDC. 

Agence France-Presse