Recently, a number of dynamics in the field of autonomous driving at home and abroad have aroused market concern. On June 27th Didi Chuxing opened its self-driving service to the public for the first time, one step closer to self-driving commercialization in China. 28 (UPI) — Amazon announced a $1.2 billion acquisition of autonomous driving company Zoox, calling it “the biggest self-driving acquisition of the year,”media reported.
There’s never been a shortage of giants in the field of autonomous driving. In this involves technology travel enterprises, traditional car companies and many other players in the melee, breakout and shuffle constantly staged. Infographic In The New Latitude Fu Yumei Photo
Self-driving commercial propulsion
On June 27th, The Shanghai Smart Net-a-Porter large-scale manned demonstration application was launched, and didi Chuxing opened its self-driving service to the public for the first time. Users can register via the Drip app line, after the approval, will be able to call the self-driving vehicle in Shanghai test section, free of charge to call the self-driving vehicle for the test ride experience.
This is not the industry’s first move. In April, Baidu’s Apollo driverless taxi announced that it was officially launching in Changsha, where citizens can use Baidu Maps and Baidu APP for a single-click ride in the open road smart driving demonstration zone.
Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of Didi Chuxing, revealed that autonomous driving has gone from technology to commercial maturity to regulatory maturity, and is long, with at least 10 years of continuous investment.
Commercial exploration of self-driving cars will be driven by cities in 2019. At the 2019 World Smart Network Motor Conference, Shanghai issued the first batch of smart network vehicle demonstration application license. Didi was one of the first companies to get a license, with SAIC and BMW the other two.
In the future, enterprises that have obtained demonstration application licenses can first carry out demonstration applications on urban roads and explore the commercial operation of smart network vehicles.
On September 22, 2019, the National Smart Net-a-Porter (Wuhan) Test Demonstration Zone was officially unveiled, and Baidu, Hailiang Technology and Shenlan Technology obtained the world’s first commercial license for self-driving cars.
Similarly, this means that driverless vehicles can be tested not only on open roads, but also in commercial operations.
The agency points out that a “golden decade” for autonomous driving is coming. The “Road Map for Energy Saving and New Energy Vehicle technology” released by the China Society of Automotive Engineering proposes that by 2020, the auto industry will have 30 million vehicles, the market share of driver-assisted/partialself autonomous vehicles will reach 50%, and from 2021 to 2025, highly or fully autonomous vehicles will be available;
Huatai Securities analyst Lin Zhixuan and others pointed out that 2020-2030 is the “golden decade” for the development of self-driving, policy-driven global self-driving technology is expected to develop rapidly. The L3-class mass-produced models of domestic auto companies are expected to be gradually introduced in 2020-2021, and the introduction of policy-driven overlay products is expected to accelerate the development of China’s self-driving industry.
The difficulty of breaking out of traditional car companies
It is worth noting that in the self-driving track, compared to the high-flying technology, travel companies, traditional car companies due to large volume, technical routes conservative and other reasons, in the field of autonomous driving slightly harder.
On June 22nd BMW and Mercedes-Benz announced they would suspend their cooperation in the development of self-driving technology. Mercedes-Benz said in a joint statement that the two companies had decided to suspend their cooperation after extensive assessment of their partnership based on current economic and business conditions.
In July 2019, the two companies officially signed a partnership on the development of self-driving systems, announcing a “long-term strategic partnership.” Less than a year later, the much-anticipated “giant technology alliance” was put on hold.
Unlike most self-researching software and hardware technology companies, traditional car companies often join forces with upstream and downstream suppliers or host plants to form “alliances”. For example, Volkswagen has formed the Alliance Network of Self-Driving Cars (NAV) with four major suppliers: NVI, Bosch, Continental and Aquantia, an exclusive alliance between Renault-Nissan and Waymo, and toyota, General Motors and the Automated Vehicle Computing Alliance (AVCC) of ARM, Bosch and Nvida.
Industry insiders believe that the traditional car factory to the field of self-driving transformation process, in the software development of innate deficiencies. The alliance itself involves the sharing of technology, and it is also facing a series of cooperation problems.
Song Jin, senior analyst at Analysys Automotive Travel, told China News and New Zealand that most traditional car companies are inferior to technology companies and start-ups in terms of self-driving technology, self-driving talent pool and internal innovation environment. In addition, traditional car companies for revenue data, it is difficult to desperately research and development of driverless, coupled with the global economic downturn and the development of shared travel, so that car companies more pressure.
“To remedy the disadvantages, the traditional car companies that seek to acquire self-driving start-ups or adopt the technology of self-driving enterprises will become a more common option.” Song said.
Will acquisitions become a trend?
The two “big” are also hard to hold up the self-driving field, there are also many enterprises in the “burn money” on the road.
Amazon has officially announced it will buy autonomous driving company Zoox for $1.2 billion,media reported.
Zoox has been developing driverless cars since 2014 with the aim of launching an on-demand self-driving taxi service, according to public records. Since its inception, Zoox has raised nearly $1 billion. The most recent financing was in October 2019, and was completed at a valuation of $3.2 billion.
Zoox laid off 120 employees and cut 10 percent of its workforce in April as a result of the outbreak. Zoox said it had been seeking funding to keep it running. Amazon’s acquisition will help keep the company running.
However, in response to the news of the acquisition, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was a “copycat.”
In 2019, Tesla accused four of its former employees of stealing trade secrets before joining Zoox. In response, Zoox said: “Zoox acknowledges that when they joined Zoox’s logistics team, some employees from Tesla had Tesla documents related to transportation and warehousing procedures. “
In April, Zoox and Tesla settled the lawsuit, paying Tesla an undisclosed amount of damages and an audit to ensure that no employees are still using Tesla’s secrets.
Today, Zoox’s own acquisition nature is more of an industry concern than a “trouble” with Tesla.
Industry executives predict that similar acquisitions will continue in the self-driving industry in the future, with the exception of Amazon, where other big-spending parties are likely to do the same. Whether it’s people or logistics, continued high investment is bound to drive more self-driving cars toward spending or mergers and acquisitions. (China New Latitude APP)