In the past exchanges, many people in the industry mentioned, “why don’t you pay attention to commercial vehicles? There are many players in the field of commercial vehicle assisted driving.” Some executives even asserted that there must be no future for making passenger cars. However, some people in the industry believe that commercial vehicles can only survive, and only passenger vehicles can live better.
It is not difficult to find that an obvious trend in the field of intelligent driving in the past two years is that more and more companies focusing on robotaxi scene begin to extend their tentacles to commercial vehicle tracks such as trunk logistics, airports and logistics parks. The intelligent driving players of commercial vehicle track have also made more and more surprising new progress. Compared with the booming robotaxi field, a slightly low-key but full of imagination iceberg is floating out of the sea, bringing new excitement to the automatic driving industry.
If referring to the traditional automobile industry, it is a natural choice for enterprises in the industrial chain to make both passenger cars and commercial vehicles after the industry matures. However, at a time when the intelligent driving technology is not fully mature and the trial and error cost is high, whether enterprises choose to focus on the commercial vehicle track, the passenger vehicle field, or both passenger and commercial walking on two legs is really a question that needs to be answered carefully.
So which way can players go faster to the rich “Canaan land” in the field of intelligent driving and absorb sweet milk and honey? What challenges will you encounter on different roads?
First of all, we need to understand the role of current intelligent driving technology in the field of commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles.
Generally speaking, passenger cars are designed to facilitate life and are used to carry people and their luggage and / or occasionally carry goods, including cars, minibuses and light buses with no more than 9 seats; Commercial vehicles are mainly designed for enterprises to make profits. They are used to transport a large number of people or goods, including all cargo vehicles and buses with more than 9 seats. Although the intelligent driving technology is partially common in the underlying technology of the two, it will show significantly different technical requirements and business models due to different specific scenarios.
Intelligent driving technology has formed mass production in the field of commercial vehicles, mainly in two directions:
First, dual warning (pedestrian warning and lane line warning), AEB (automatic braking), ACC (Adaptive Cruise), LKA (lane keeping assistance), etc. within L2 level;
The other is from the perspective of safety, for DMS (driver fatigue detection system) made in the cabin, etc.
The field of passenger cars mainly starts from the parking scene, such as APA (conventional automatic parking), HPA (memory parking), AVP (independent valet parking), and then slowly iterates to the integrated system of travel and parking.
In the application of intelligent driving technology in commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles, the core perception and fusion algorithm, mass production chip platform and system requirements for mass production are basically similar, but the complexity and intelligent requirements of passenger vehicles will be higher, which also makes the starting point of large-scale mass production and application scenarios very different.
This is also the reason why the players in the industrial chain argue about the commercial lines of commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles.
Semi closed parks, scenic spots, mining areas, ports and other scenes have the characteristics of relatively fixed environment, small traffic flow, low driving speed, relatively simple odd operation design domain and no need for a large number of test data support. It is easy to mass produce intelligent driving technology and scale scenes, but the market capacity is small and easy to touch the growth ceiling, Although the passenger car scene faces multiple challenges such as technology, cost, laws and regulations, it has a huge market space.
The core dispute may be whether enterprises should grasp the present or focus on the future.
However, some enterprises choose to take business and ride on two legs. There is no contradiction between the mass production promotion of intelligent driving technology and cutting-edge R & D, but different enterprises have light emphasis on the two in time and resources.
Commercial vehicles are more like drooping fruits.
The automatic driving application scenarios of commercial vehicles mainly include seven fields: trunk logistics, port scenario, logistics park, mining area scenario, airport scenario, terminal distribution and unmanned cleaning.
Trunk logistics and port logistics are two main scenarios. The former has a trillion level broad market volume, and the latter, as a low-speed closed scenario, is expected to take the lead in commercialization.
Port and trunk logistics scenarios are basically heavy truck models. In order to effectively reduce the rate of driving accidents, the road transport regulations (Revised Draft) issued by the Ministry of transport in November 2020 shows that:
More than 12 tons of cargo vehicles are required to be equipped with intelligent video monitoring devices. The policy is expected to land in the second half of this year. At the same time, in the face of problems such as the continuous rise of labor costs in the freight industry, the prominent age fault trend of truck drivers and large job gap, truck transportation service companies also have a very strong driving force to install relevant auxiliary driving functions.
Under the temptation of huge market space and ideal landing scenario, many intelligent driving players have gradually gathered in the field of commercial vehicles, including those who light asset operation and only provide technical solutions, or those who spend a lot of money, both technology and team, and technical operation; From another dimension, some enterprises choose the gradual route of assisted driving technology, and some adhere to the leapfrog L4 technology.
An intelligent driving solution company said that according to the financial forecast, its commercial vehicle solution project can achieve hundreds of millions of yuan of revenue in 2022.
As for the problems to be solved in the field of intelligent driving passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles, in addition to the common problems such as technical polishing, laws and regulations, mass production, business model design, safety and reliability, specifically in the field of commercial vehicles, such as port and trunk logistics, we want to do deeper and more thoroughly and discard the technology and business model, More importantly, it should cooperate with the whole logistics industry ecology.
“(because) in terms of business model, logistics is a huge network, including logistics hubs and trunk lines. For example, the port is a large logistics hub, and the expressway is the line connecting the logistics hub. With the migration of autonomous trucks from the port scene to the expressway scene, an autonomous freight network covering the whole country will be created.” Industry insiders Chen Guan (a pseudonym) said.
So what are the characteristics of intelligent driving enterprises that can run out in the field of commercial vehicles?
After summarizing the answers of nearly 10 industry insiders, it is found that the first is to choose enterprises in semi closed parks, scenic spots, ports and other scenes that are easier to land, such as companies focusing on low-speed logistics vehicles and connecting vehicles; Secondly, companies that have mastered AI algorithm, strong industry control ability and other technical advantages; Another is the enterprises that can actively grasp customer needs and have accumulated experience in operation and business.
The field of intelligent driving now seems to be hot. Several financing cases were announced in August alone, but one track investor revealed that these cases had been completed in the first half of this year. In fact, with the tightening of listing conditions of U.S. stocks, investors’ investment in enterprises in the automatic driving industry chain is becoming cautious.
Will the field of automatic driving usher in another “cold period” of financing?
In fact, the development of automatic driving technology has its specific laws and periodicity. In theory, it is not surprising that there is a “wait-and-see period” or “cold period” of capital, but industry insiders Zhou lunfang believes that there will not be a cold period of the whole industry or the whole track“ For companies that can take the lead in large-scale technology application and profitability, it will become a “new heat” in the so-called “cold period”. Only teams with weak technology or difficult to commercialize will enter a relatively difficult stage or face strategic adjustment. ”
Therefore, for current track players, commercial vehicles or passenger vehicles may be just carriers, and technical classification is not so important. Paying attention to intelligent driving technology and its realization method is the real core.