The future of transport will most certainly involve autonomous-vehicle (AV) technology. It is essential that investors, entrepreneurs, and industry innovators are up-to-speed with the implications and impact of such a revolutionary technology within the auto industry.
At our upcoming WIM Salon on Sunday, November 24th, 2019, ‘The Transportation and Mobility Revolution in China’, we will be engaged in a deep discussion to answer some of the important questions pertaining to this imminent disruptive technology.
Topics regarding robotaxi testing and commercialization in China, the ‘readiness’ of autonomous driving software, the future of the AV ecosystem, and many more will be raised by the speakers at this event!
A Primer to Autonomous Driving
Is there a need for it?
The advent of autonomous driving technology has the potential to significantly reduce traffic accidents, smooth traffic flow, and decrease travel time. Autonomous vehicles can lower the number of accidents if they are equipped with features like collision warnings, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot detection and many others.
The self-parking assistance feature can be used to decrease traffic and congestion, and eliminate the need for many parking spaces. Vehicle to vehicle (V2V) is a feature that allows vehicles to communicate with each other, which can help optimize road capacity, increase traffic flow, and also prevent collisions.
Autonomous vehicle transportation can be combined with mobility services to fill the growing demand for cheaper, more accessible, and more convenient transportation. This can particularly help the mobility needs of seniors and disabled people. Such new modes of transportation can slowly replace traditional car ownership, especially within urban areas.
The need for autonomous driving therefore exists and the existence of such needs warrants continued progress in autonomous driving technology.
What’s needed for the ideal autonomous vehicle ecosystem?
In order to successfully accommodate for and implement autonomous driving technology in our everyday lives, there are many variables necessary to consider.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology plays a central role in the development of autonomous driving technology. AI enables the ability for cars to navigate and respond to different situations upon analyzing collected data. The more autonomous the system, the more sophisticated the AI must be.
According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), automated driving is differentiated into five levels. Levels 1 to 2 requires human monitoring of the surrounding environment. Levels 3 to 5 does not require human monitoring of the driving environment. L3 requires human override, L4 requires a geofenced area with optional human override, and L5 would be fully autonomous under all conditions.
Currently, we are still many years away from realizing true Level 5 autonomy. However, Level 3 and geofenced Level 4 autonomous vehicle testing are already well underway today and significant progress has been made.
The application of AI technology, robotics, and big data are all helping to pave the way for autonomous vehicles – an area that many companies, big and small, are already competing for dominance within. The proliferation of 5G, blockchain technology, even quantum computing, will greatly aid the usage of autonomous driving technology. LiDAR technology (Light Detection and Ranging Sensors), computational capacity of GPUs (graphic processing units), cloud connectivity, operating systems, and other hardware and software technologies also need to be continuously improved upon and developed in order to achieve seamless integration with autonomous vehicles.
The infrastructure of our cities will be significantly reshaped in order to accomodate for self-driving vehicles. Autonomous vehicles rely on data input from its surroundings. Vehicle functionality would be constrained without proper roads and the right hardware installed into the roads for self-driving vehicles to operate well. Sensors need to be not only inside the vehicle but also in the surrounding environment as well.
The need for large parking lots may also be eliminated, as mobility solutions in the future merge autonomous vehicles and the MaaS business model together. Data collected from connected vehicles can be used to send infrastructure data to transportation agencies, which can allow such agencies to fix road-related problems and build better roads much faster.
New Autonomous Mobility Solutions
Shared vehicles and intelligent transportation will be able to resolve modern needs for on-demand and affordable mobility, without the need for car ownership. Autonomous vehicle technology and Mobility as a Service businesses are already being combined by many companies today.
Didi will soon launch its free robotaxi pick-up service in Shanghai, each staffed with a human driver and equipped with Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities. Baidu, Didi’s major mainland competitor, has already registered 140,000 autonomously driven kilometers in 2018 in Beijing – the most in Beijing. Robocars are now testing in over 10 cities in China. Other big-name Chinese companies have also joined the self-driving action including Tencent, NIO, BAIC Group, Pony.ai, as well as some foreign auto companies such as Audi and Daimler. Huawei has also partnered with Audi to provide chipsets for Audi’s L4 self-driving vehicles.
From our Auto G50 list we can observe the numerous exciting new startups that are also working on autonomous driving technology today!
Autonomous driving technology is being developed side-by-side with electric vehicle (EV) technology as well. Many auto companies are, in fact, developing both technologies simultaneously in the pursuit of the autonomous electric vehicle. In this highly disruptive and emerging market, the entire automotive ecosystem will subsequently be redesigned.
The urgency from stakeholders to innovate and work towards a fully autonomous future is a signal that now is a time of radical change, and most importantly, opportunity!
World Innovators Meet (WIM) 2019 will kick off the automotive salon on Sunday, November 24th, 2019. The WIM Salon will then end with a big year-end party on Dec. 22, 2019.
Don’t miss out and be sure to scan the QR below for more information! Register for the event here!