It’s been less than a month since I joined CloudCar in China and I’ve already had the exciting opportunity to attend my first auto show with the company.
Global automakers, both established players and Chinese startups, showed off their innovation and technologies at the 18th Shanghai International Automotive Industry Exhibition. I visited several car OEMs on the floor from various automakers, leading U.S. or European brands to local Chinese ones, joint ventures and more.
China’s largest automaker, SAIC Motor had their local brands like Roewe, MG Motor, Maxus, and Baojun visible on the show floor. Their lineup of new vehicles are moving towards economical pricing targeting the young audience which includes an infotainment system by Banma Network Technologies. Banma Network Technologies is an internet startup founded in 2015 by a joint venture between Alibaba and SAIC Motor.
Joint venture brands of SAIC-GM like Cadillac, Buick, and Chevrolet are moving in the direction of a low-end to mid-end consumption and performance models for the early adult to middle-aged audiences. Their infotainment system is from Onstar, a subsidiary of General Motors.
The upcoming innovation OEM brands in the market are shining a light on their Internet gene. They are guiding the clean energy, car networking, and intelligence. Normally, they have their own ecosystem and in-vehicle system with connected apps and cool websites.
The “BAT” which stands for Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent is going to become “BATH” as witnessed by the recent commitment of Huawei. These key players are joining the connected car playing field with their “Huawei Connected Vehicle Solution.”
Electric vehicles (EV) featured as a high-profile role at Shanghai Auto. Global purchase of EV cars continue to rise. However, there are several technology challenges that OEMs still face. For instance, finding solutions to overcome range anxiety is a challenge where drivers are anxious about running out of charge before reaching a charge station.
CloudCar is shaping mobility for a sustainable future by working closely with OEMs and EV content/service providers. With our voice-first solution, CloudCar offers a unique and seamless approach to electric vehicle charging. Our artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms work together to make relevant predictions based on the driver’s unique profile and vehicle data. We integrate all the popular service providers for global OEMs so they can have an opportunity to have it all, especially when they step into the foreign markets outside of China.
At the show, I also observed how OEMs proudly displayed intelligent features of the car.
These features generally fell into three categories:
- Driving assistance system (Adaptive Cruise Control Autonomous Emergency Braking)
- Driving secure controlling system (Anti-lock Braking System Electronic Stability Program)
- Infotainment system (AI assistance)
All systems will have its visualization on the head unit in-vehicle and on the phone off-vehicle.
Several other automakers made their global debuts. Audi unveiled their vision of the electric cars. The Porsche Cayenne Coupe made an auto debut highlighting their fully automatic panoramic roof and other impressive “extras” from seats to the rear spoiler.
Volkswagen debuted their Jetta sub-brand for China, while BMW showed off a version of their 3 Series. Geely, China’s highest-profile carmaker with investments in Volvo and Daimler, launched a premium all-electric car brand called Geometry.
WeiLai, also known as NIO in the U.S., brought its entire family of vehicles, plus previewed the new ET7 Concept. While NIO has a North America headquarters in Silicon Valley near our CloudCar office, they currently sell their cars only in China. However, they plan to expand their sales to Europe and the U.S. someday.
Another concept car called the Rhombus, which is a battery-powered electric vehicle was debuted by Toyota. The Rhombus is designed differently with one driver seat centered at the front and seats for the passengers in the back. Their concept car also targets the younger consumers, specifically born after 1990.
After attending the show, my observation of the automotive industry is it is going to balance the hardware and software technology, especially for the innovative electric car brands. In-vehicle experience is by all means an essential part of driving. Intelligent vehicle and vehicle networking is becoming more and more popular for all brands, creating and disrupting markets, and leading the way to several opportunities.