Under this trend, in the future intelligent networked car field, who will be the last master, the dark battle is still in progress.
Nearly a month away from the 15th Beijing Auto Show, Visteon, a well-known auto parts manufacturer, can't wait to share the latest development, Drivecore, with the industry. Drivecore is a solution developed by Visteon for autonomous driving. It is called "black technology in the field of automatic driving" and is the "protagonist" of this year's Beijing Auto Show Visteon.
"At present, in the Chinese market, intelligent network connection and automatic driving are hot spots. The government has promoted this. Therefore, in this field, China's demand must drive global development. Drivecore is designed for the Chinese market, and it is the world's first mass production. The project will also take place in China,” said Cai Lili, director of business strategy and market communications at Visteon.
In fact, not only Visteon, Bosch, Delphi and other well-known parts and components are looking at autonomous driving, taking the latest products in the field to the Chinese market to find business opportunities. In their view, the automotive industry is undergoing major changes, and the OEM system that has been controlled by car companies for nearly 30 years is being broken and reshuffled, and this breaker comes from Internet power outside the automotive industry.
“Everyone thinks that autonomous driving is a trend, and they are heading for this goal, including sensor manufacturers, chip companies, and Internet companies. OEMs are slowly losing control and the situation is starting to become subtle.” Visteon Auto Driving Chief Architect Wang Kai told NBD that the competitive landscape in the autopilot field is that car companies, component manufacturers, Internet companies, and technology companies are almost evenly matched. Who will be the controller of the new game is still working harder.
From the "tree" relationship to the round table dialogue
Traditional car companies have never been as restless as they are now, and they are feeling the constant control of the top of the industry chain.
Li Shufu, the chairman of Geely Holding Group, which has been silent for a long time, suddenly changed the "low-key" this year and "fired" for smart driving on different occasions. On March 28th, when attending the 2018 Smart Car International Symposium, Li Shufu clearly pointed out that both Internet companies and traditional car companies should follow the basic bottom line of security.
At an internal symposium before this seminar, Li Shufu was worried about raising a question: "The car operating system is not the operating system of the Internet. We are now engaged in electric intelligent networked cars, but the ultimate initiative is in the hands of Whose hands? Don’t want the car to be very busy, but the last right to speak is taken away by others.”
Li Shufu’s concerns are not without reason. After BMW and Mercedes-Benz announced their withdrawal from the 100-year-old Detroit Auto Show, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, USA, is being favored by car dealers. Originally, it was the annual exhibition conference of technology companies. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the automobile circle due to the participation of automobile companies.
In fact, even if you join the CES show, the traditional car companies are not the absolute strength of the show. Bosch, Delphi, NVIDIA, Google, Intel, Baidu... Together with the new forces from China, the launch of the traditional car companies is not prominent in the lively CES show. This also reflects the fact that under the sweep of the trend of electric intelligent network, the inherent order of the traditional automobile industry chain is changing a little.
“It’s hard to say who will win.” GM’s global executive vice president and president of China’s company, Qian Huikang, said that in the current autopilot industry chain, there are too many possibilities for dark horses and innovative models. Cars and technology companies are vying for the right to define the time when the steering wheel is completely gone, but no one can predict when the decisive moment will come.
In the view of auto parts suppliers, the inherent ecology of the automotive industry has been broken for many years. “Before, the core technology of the automobile industry was internal combustion engine technology, so the definition of the automobile industry chain is very clear, which is determined by the OEM. This is a tree-shaped industrial chain ecology. The first-tier supplier stands at the highest end, then the second level. OEMs, Level 3, Level 4, etc., how much money you should earn, and who can earn, OEMs are very clear. But with the advent of the era of electric intelligent network, OEMs no longer master the core technology, the original tree The industrial chain has now become a round table, and the boss has lost absolute control rights." Wang Kai said.
The car company is in the "joint and horizontal"
Changes in the inherent ecology of the automotive industry are also changing the way traditional car companies do things. One of the most striking examples is that many years of rivals, Germany's two luxury car companies BMW and Mercedes-Benz announced on March 28 the establishment of a shared travel joint venture to join forces against Google and Uber in the future travel field competition. This can be seen as a "continuous cross" between traditional car companies.
In addition to the "Lianheng" between the car companies, the car companies and parts suppliers, technology companies are also "combined." In the past three years, mergers and acquisitions of auto-driving core technologies such as high-precision maps, laser radars, vision systems, and electronic chips have occurred almost every once in a while.
For example, in 2016, GM acquired Cruise AutomaTIon, a San Francisco startup that had just been established for three years, for $600 million to quickly integrate its autonomous driving research into its electric vehicles for testing. Ford, the same American car company, also spent $1 billion to acquire the unmanned startup Argo AI, and invested $182.2 million in cloud computing technology company Pivotal and $75 million in multi-line laser radar company Velodyne.
The acquisition of start-up technology companies by traditional car companies is very similar to that of domestic Internet giants BAT (Baidu, Ali, Tencent): they would rather buy a competitor that threatens their survival in the future, and they are not willing to see it grow and develop.
Wang Kai, who dominates Visteon's autonomous driving business, has a clear understanding of this. He told NBD Cars, "The next generation of travel is important to experience, who can give consumers a good experience, who can take the top spot in the new rules of the game. In this process, who is best able to put everything When integrated, whoever is most important."
Opportunity for parts suppliers
In fact, the current well-known auto parts manufacturers are looking for their own position under the new ecology. They are also trying to transform their traditional businesses from emerging businesses, such as Delphi and Visteon, like traditional car companies. Bosch, even the well-known internal combustion engine supplier Cummins is "running" along this path. However, unlike the traditional car companies, the idea of “joint and horizontal” is the “intermediary” that component suppliers most want to play.
“The biggest difference between component suppliers and Internet companies is that we have technology precipitation. The automotive industry will involve a series of safety-related technologies, so technology needs to be precipitated, and Internet companies are generally impetuous, they can make samples quickly. But they can't really mass produce and guarantee safety, they lack accumulation."
Wang Kai said that it is based on this recognition that Visteon launched the Drivecore autopilot solution, trying to build a platform between traditional car companies and technology companies. Visteon plays the role of “intermediary”, on the one hand to start-up technology companies. Open platform, on the other hand, recommend good technology products to traditional car companies.
Wang Kai said that Visteon's platform for building Drivecore was inspired by the "Apple phone." Drivecore's platform is intended to be a modular and scalable platform for autonomous driving through "platform + middleware + application", linking as many hardware resources as sensors and chips, as well as software resources of Internet companies, and the other end. Meet the customized needs of auto companies for autonomous driving.
In fact, the solution to autopilot is open to the OEM in the form of a platform, and Internet companies have this idea.
Baidu announced in April 2017 that the open autopilot platform “Apollo” is an open, complete and secure software platform for partners in the automotive industry and autonomous driving, helping them to quickly build a set of vehicles and hardware systems. Belong to your own complete autonomous driving system. Baidu called the platform "Apollo Program."
After the release of Apollo, Baidu has reached cooperation agreements with 15 automakers such as Changan, Beiqi, FAW and Chery, but there are very few car companies that use Baidu's shared platform to hand over data to Baidu. This also makes the Apollo program increasingly silent.
Compared with the Apollo program, the difference between the Visteon Drivecore platform is that the core data and business model of autonomous driving are firmly in the hands of car companies, which makes the competition between Visteon and the car companies greatly reduced.
“In fact, traditional car companies are very prepared for Internet giants like BAT. There is a conflict between data and security issues. However, in order to cater to the trend of smart connected cars, they have to choose to cooperate with them. In this case, there is a need for a middleman between the traditional car company and the Internet company to let people who love and hate each other to do things and promote automatic driving, which provides opportunities for our parts suppliers." Wang Kai said, "Compared with Internet companies, traditional car companies are more willing to accept us. After all, we have cooperated with car companies for so many years and understand each other."
However, whether the above ideas of Visteon can really land depends on whether the car companies are willing to pay. At present, apart from Visteon, well-known auto parts companies such as China and Bosch have launched their own autopilot products, and chip manufacturers such as NVIDIA and NXP are also offering fully expandable autopilot platforms. wide. Under this trend, in the future intelligent networked car field, who will be the last master, the dark battle is still in progress.