The focus of automobile developers in future years will be the creation and continuous improvement of intelligent, connected, electric "new energy" vehicles, said a savvy group of experts and insiders at the World Intelligent Connected Vehicles Conference, held in Beijing last week.
A pair of 2018 Roewe RX5s, the world’s first mass-produced internet-based cars. An RX5 comes with intelligent internet technology,
which assigns an independent ID to each user, who can lock or unlock the car, switch on the air conditioner
and heat the seats through remote control, or operate the air conditioner, play music and turn on the navigation system through voice control.
(Photo courtesy SAIC Motor)
Organized by the Beijing Municipal People's Government and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the conference was held at the Beijing National Convention Center from October 18 through 21.
"The intelligent connectivity of China's automobile industry is fostered by both the supply side and the demand side," Yin Dan, vice-supervisor of the new energy vehicle business of the business consulting center at the State Information Center, told the "China Daily" newspaper, which is owned by the ruling Communist Party of China.
With the Chinese government encouraging the development of intelligent connected vehicles, several cities -Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Changchun - have enacted laws and regulations for the testing of self-driving cars.
Beijing has opened 33 sections of road with a total length of 105 kilometers for automakers to test their self-driving technology, said Yin.
People born in the 1990s and later will account for 50 percent of the new car owners by 2027, Yin said, and those "young car owners rely heavily on internet and pay close attention to connectivity of automobiles" when deciding on what vehicle to purchase.
"It's no surprise that data shows the generation born after 1990 takes the intelligent connected vehicle as the most promising development trend of the automobile industry," Yin said.
For instance, the Roewe RX5 is an internet-connected, compact crossover launched by e-commerce firm Alibaba and SAIC Motor. In 2012, the youngest generation of car buyers accounted for five percent of Roewe RX5's total customers, which increased to 24 percent in 2017, said Yin.
Roewe CEO Wang Jian says new internet technology will allow the Alibaba and SAIC Motor joint venture to quickly adapt its cars to enable driverless operation.
Her words drew agreement from a host of industry insiders and officials at the World Intelligent Connected Vehicles Conference.
"Intelligent connected new energy vehicles are bound to be the final solution of the vehicle consumption upgrading and future mobility," said Lian Qingfeng, a spokesman for BAIC BJEV.
The BAIC Group, officially Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., Ltd., is a Chinese state-owned enterprise and holding company of several automobile and machine manufacturers located in Beijing.
Subsidiaries include the passenger car maker BAIC Motor; a military vehicle and SUV maker, BAW; and a truck, bus, and agricultural equipment maker, Foton Motor. BAIC also makes Hyundai and Mercedes-branded cars for sale on the Chinese market.
"Electrification is just the beginning of the new energy vehicle industry," said Lian. To strengthen the collaboration among automakers and improve overall technologies, BAIC BJEV is establishing the National New Energy Vehicle Technology Innovation Center, Lian said.
China's major automakers are embracing the trend.
Su Ling, deputy general manager of Changan New Energy Vehicle Technology Co, said the company is planning to make all its new energy vehicles internet-connected.
Shu Youxing, head of the vehicle intelligence technology at BYD Automotive, told the conference that BYD has initiated a technology-sharing website, which connects the 341 sensors inside BYD cars, offering driving data to software developers.
Shu told the conference that China's internet giant Baidu, ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, and e-commerce giant Alibaba all are making use of this technology-sharing website to develop their own self-driving vehicles.
By Sunny Lewis
Environment News Service (ENS)
October 26, 2018