The new car makers finally “survived” the first stage of capital and market, in addition to the new forces In addition to new car brands, autonomous driving, intelligent vehicles, intelligent auxiliary systems continue to support, so that it is the automotive industry to press the “accelerator”.
Among them, autonomous driving has become the best stage for the auto industry to showcase. From the past ignorance of the concept, to now successfully used to the actual car intelligent assisted driving, the automotive industry has spent nearly a decade to tell the world, the achievability of autonomous driving technology, this is the first half of it.
As if destined to go through “Ninety-eight difficulties” in order to achieve the right result, it is now officially entering the second half of the game, the fight is the ability to operate, the use of scenarios and costs.
The qualitative change from 0 to 1
In 2014, the International Society of Automotive Engineers developed six levels to describe the ability of driver assistance and autonomous driving systems, that is, the level range from L0 no driving automation to L5 full automation.
And before this system capability was developed, Google incubated Waymo as the representative of the Silicon Valley self-driving technology companies, is also feeling the way forward. Yet today, just seven years later, Waymo completed its first round of external financing in May with a total of $3 billion in cash, setting a new global record for a single round of funding for an autonomous driving company.
Waymo, now one of the world’s leading companies in the field of autonomous driving, from technical capabilities to the use of scenarios, is becoming a benchmark in a specific sense, and it provides the autonomous driving industry with the impetus to move forward.
Although some analysts question, “I think even if we give the autonomous driving industry another ten years, they can not reach the ideal state of perfection, the world can only accept and popularize the category in L3…”
The commercialization is accelerating and the car companies are investing in their autonomous driving, and this project, which does not have a big return, is converging on the same interests.
After a large number of use scenarios, user data feedback, autonomous driving has clearly moved from the 1.0 era to 2.0, and slowly formed a market dominated by user experience.
Waymo started early, in the commercial use of the perception of nature is also particularly clear. 2018 FCA announced cooperation with Waymo, to Waymo to provide up to 6.2 million Chrysler Pacifica hybrid van, hoping that Waymo can be applied to the future of self-driving technology for the private market passenger cars; June 2020, Waymo and Renault In June 2020, Waymo and Renault also reached a relevant cooperation to study how self-driving cars can provide passenger and package delivery services in France and Japan.
But what has made Waymo famous is its self-driving software business with Volvo Cars, an “exclusive” partnership that will integrate Waymo’s self-driving software into a new electric car designed for the Robotaxi service, which seeks to integrate the Waymo Driver system into a new, mobile-centric electric car platform that offers ride-hailing services.
The goal is to create the world’s most experienced robot driver and launch Robot Taxi, a service for people who need a taxi to get around.
This visionary idea can be seen as the closest thing to a future travel scenario in terms of self-driving profitability. Waymo has definitely become a competitor to the major car companies, and with a valuation of $250 billion, it is taking over the global car market compared to the single-route scenarios that most self-driving companies are currently offering.
Although in a sense, Waymo has become a target, but from 0 to 1 in the quality of change, Waymo is undoubtedly the leader.
And from the laboratory demo to the ground constantly test, operation, determined to remove the “hand control” and then “full body and back” is becoming a common task under the global self-driving industry profitability goals.
L3 to driverless how many steps remain
In the domestic market, if you ask the user, perhaps now the hot Huawei will be considered the pioneer in the field of autonomous driving. The fact is also true, in the Shanghai Auto Show, Huawei and BAIC New Energy high-end brand Extreme Fox brand (ARCFOX) jointly create Alpha S Huawei HI version.
This model is equipped with Huawei ADS high-level autonomous driving full-stack solutions, is seen as “Huawei’s ambition in the field of autonomous driving. So much so that the president of Huawei Intelligent Driving, Turnip Su, said in a high-profile interview, “Huawei’s autonomous driving team has more than 2,000 people, with a yearly investment of about $1 billion, and is expected to maintain an annual growth rate of about 30% in the future. And, in the Huawei Auto BU sort, autonomous driving ‘is the absolute first, not a little first'”.
These remarks instantly stirred up a thousand waves, in Alpha S Huawei HI version completed the first public test ride, Huawei concept stocks continue to strengthen, BAIC Blue Valley stopped, along with its cooperation with car companies stocks all the way up (Changan Automobile rose 4%, Xiaokang shares rose 3%, Guangzhou Automobile Group rose 2%).
I can only say that Huawei’s wave of marketing is really in place, car companies have tasted the “dividends” brought by autonomous driving. On the other hand, Baidu ranked high in the latest list of autonomous driving competitiveness released by Guidehouse (a public and business consulting firm). This is the second year in a row that it has been in the international autonomous driving “leader” camp, and is the only Chinese company on the list.
With this award, Baidu Apollo has become the world’s leading autonomous driving company. In fact, not only Huawei and Baidu, but also nine companies including DDT, pony, momenta, Wenyuan, Zhijia, Tucson Future, Ying Che, Harness, and Horizon have received a total of $3.4 billion in financing in five months from November 2020 to March 2021, according to China Entrepreneur.
Before Huawei, China’s autonomous driving industry started to usher in a new round of financing. A few days ago, Drip broke the news that it was about to complete a new round of funding of more than $300 million, with a valuation that may exceed that of Pony Smart (the latest announced valuation is $5.3 billion); according to SkyEye, the company has previously completed several rounds of financing, with past investors including IDG Capital and SoftBank Vision Fund. Since the breakup in 2019, a total of $1.1 billion in funding has been raised for DDT Autopilot.
In addition, Wenyuan Zhixing also just announced the completion of a new round of financing at a valuation of $3.3 billion, its stock transactions, called to $5 billion; and Pony’s latest valuation reached $5.3 billion.
The rising valuation of self-driving companies is far more exciting than we thought.
Analysts pointed out that “5-10 years after 2020 time eh, autonomous driving technology will usher in a turning point, the industry will move from the ‘valley of despair’ to the ‘slope of enlightenment'”. Some practitioners also pointed out that the autonomous driving industry will usher in a new round of reshuffling, and the current new force car companies, will enter the harsh grading stratification, the gap between the first line and the second line continue to widen.”
In this chase, a crucial problem also came: to truly achieve the ultimate goal of driverless, all Internet players need to face a common problem, is the gradual progression from L2 to L3 to L4, or directly bypass L3 to do driverless (full system driverless); is to do with the greatest interests of this era to fight or just for the future of technology life “Playing auxiliary”?
These questions are so far unresolved.
But time and time again on the glamorous stage, those spirited leaders always eloquently talk about the functionality of their company’s current driverless. We always hang our mouths on “disengagement”, for example, we want to get rid of our hands in the car; for example, we want to disengage from manual intervention and go directly to autonomous driving mode, etc.
The word “disengage” largely indicates the maturity and stability of the technology used to measure autonomous driving.
Whether abroad or at home, companies in the autonomous driving industry can’t avoid financing and market business models, but in front of these routines, more and more “being prescribed” is starting to look extremely important. For example, like many autonomous driving engineers have been emphasizing the removal of the safety officer, normalized operation, multi-scene development, as if only to meet the above three requirements, this industry is constantly high valuation in the wind to move forward smoothly.
The turning point has arrived, those who once predicted that “human driving will be replaced by autonomous driving in 50 years” words may come true, because as autonomous driving companies continue to travel deeper into the market, the use of the increase and popularity, will promote the entire industry into the full expansion of the 2.0 era.