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AutoTrends Weekly

News Highlights 
  • Future of mobility set to change from AI, AR, and VR to blockchain (Financial Express, July 28)

  • Car-sharing brand introduced in Xiong'an New Area (Beijing Daily, Aug. 1)

  • Car sharing embraces golden age (Gasgoo, July 31)

  • IBM wants to change IoT and car security by testing throughout the product's life (Digital Trends, July 26)

  • Credit policy aims to push production of new energy cars (China Daily, July 31)

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Automotive VR/AR

Future of mobility set to change from AI, AR, and VR to blockchain

  • Traditionally, mobility is looked at as a product that includes transportation and infrastructure required to move people. Increasingly though, mobility is approached as a service. Here are some compelling technology trends that will shape up mobility.

  • Studies say that, by 2020, 103 million automobiles will contain augmented reality (AR) technology, supporting the users. OEMs are starting to use digital showrooms with AR. With more cars coming with head-up display, a lot more information would be offered to the driver via AR. The technology will offer improved maintenance and fault diagnosis in the area of smart production and smart workshops, thus increasing efficiency in workshops and reducing the frequency of claims.

  • The blockchain technology will enable consumers to securely share data online without involving a third party. They can conclude agreements and contracts online and securely transact payments, and the technology ensures the data is anonymized. This will make it impossible to falsify the data, and consumers will be less dependent on one single computing center. (Financial Express, July 28)

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Urban Transportation

Car-sharing brand introduced in Xiong'an New Area

  • BAIC BJEV recently introduced its wholly-owned car-sharing brand, Qingxiang Chuxing, in the Xiong'an New Area, a state-level new area in Baoding, Hebei province, China.

  • The company will allow users to rent a car at one location and return the car at a different location within Beijing and the Xiong'an New Area.

  • "To start, we will launch 20 vehicles in the area, focusing on transport between the capital city and the Xiong'an New Area. We want to play a part in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei synergy for joint development. At present, we have around 500 shared vehicles in operation in five cities," said a director at Qingxiang Chuxing. (Beijing Daily, Aug. 1)

Didi Chuxing announces tie-up with Uber's European rival Taxify

  • Chinese ride-sharing firm Didi Chuxing said recently it would invest and collaborate with European ride-sharing firm, Taxify, in a strategic partnership.

  • Taxify, a rival to San Francisco-based Uber Technologies, is an Estonian company founded in 2013 that has 2.5 million users in 18 countries in Europe and Africa.

  • The two companies said in a joint statement that Didi would support Taxify's further growth and help it become the most popular transport option in Europe and Africa. They did not provide an investment amount.

  • Didi offers ride-sharing services to more than 400 million users, according to the company. It acquired Uber China in Aug. 2016. (Reuters, Aug. 1)

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Sharing Economy

Car sharing embraces golden age

  • Three major sharing mobility models - real-time taxi, bike sharing, and time-sharing lease - are gradually altering the ways people live and travel, according to the 2017 China Mobility Industry Big Data Observation report released by CBNData. The report predicts that the capacity of the Chinese sharing mobility market will expand from RMB 66 billion to RMB 380 billion by 2018. 

  • At present, multiple carmakers have either entered or are planning to tap into the car sharing business. Some industry analysts believe that growing demand for shared vehicles will promote new energy vehicles. A research institute has predicted that there will be 2 million shared vehicles deployed in China by 2020, making the country the world's largest car sharing market. 

  • CBNData analyst Li Anran says that sharing mobility will contribute approximately RMB 600 billion to China's GDP and add some 17 million jobs by 2030. He believes that sharing mobility will become a promising business as it has made urban transportation more convenient than ever before. (Gasgoo, July 31)

Sharing economy: three key industries for growth 

  • Whilst “sharing economy” is not a new concept, digital formats, alongside the rapid expansion of the online ecosystem, have led to an exponential increase in the sharing of physical goods, space, skills, and resources.

  • The research company Juniper forecasts that the sharing economy will reach $40.2 billion in 2022, in terms of platform provider revenues, up from $18.6 billion in 2017.

  • Juniper has identified three key sectors ripe for disruption namely, shared transport, shared logistics, and shared space. 

  • The company has found that since its last research report (compiled in early 2016), shared transport companies are on average taking closer to 30% of driver earnings, with the largest market being North America. (Bizcommunity.com, July 27)

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Automotive Intelligence


IBM wants to change IoT and car security by testing throughout the product's life

  • IBM has announced the debut of two new security testing initiatives targeting the connected car industry and the Internet of Things (IoT). Building upon the foundation of its penetration testing division, X-Force Red, IBM is looking to instill new standards of security for smart products, as well as drive an industry practice of security testing throughout the life of a product.

  • Specifically targeting the automotive and IoT industries, IBM is hoping to engender new practices and standards within connected devices and their industries.

  • With connected cars, IBM believes much more can be done to keep them and its users safe. It previously raised the issue of a change in ownership potentially leaving powerful applications and connected features with the previous owner, opening up huge holes in the vehicle's security.

  • With several thousand potentially connected components of concern too, IBM is looking to provide automotive makers with a comprehensive testing platform to make sure that all systems are locked up tight before sale. (Digital Trends, July 26)

Daimler and Bosch create automated valet parking

  • With the help of automotive supplier Bosch, Daimler has just launched a driving parking system at its multi-story car park at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.

  • Those visiting the museum can reserve a car through a dedicated smartphone application, walk to the car park and have the car drive itself to the pick-up area for the start of the journey. When a user wants to return the car, they simply leave it in the drop-off area and with a press of the button through the app, the Mercedes will find its way to a parking space.

  • The system is made possible through the advanced autonomous driving systems used by Mercedes-Benz as well car park infrastructure from Bosch that incorporates sensors to communicate with the car. (Carscoops, July 26)

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NEV Industry

Credit policy aims to push production of new energy cars

  • China will soon introduce a dual-credit scheme for gasoline cars' fuel consumption and new energy car production.

  • Zheng Lixin, spokesman of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, recently said that the scheme is undergoing necessary procedures for promulgation and will be released soon.

  • Industry insiders believe the move shows China's commitment to speed up the development of clean vehicles, now that the government is gradually cutting subsidies and withdrawing them completely by 2020.

  • As stipulated in the draft, the credits should account for 8% of an automaker's total in 2018, 10% in 2019 and 12% in 2020. Those who fail to meet the goals will have to buy credits from other automakers or be fined.

  • Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association, said the authorities may make some adjustments to its scheme. He said carmakers should not be obsessed with whether there will be changes but work full speed to meet the goal. (China Daily, July 31)

Market for NEV set for slower growth

  • China's new-energy vehicle (NEV) market is set to post a slower growth rate of 18.3% this year compared with a 53% expansion last year, consulting firm AlixPartners recently said.

  • The slowdown is due to reduction of tax incentives and the government's subsidy cut on NEVs, the company said. The cut in tax incentives also has an impact on the slowing growth of green cars. 

  • AlixPartners estimated that 600,000 NEVs will be sold this year, up from 507,000 units last year. The firm sees electric vehicles (EVs) to take up 83% of total sales in 2017.

  • The company predicts China's NEV sales to grow 35% to 40% annually in the next three years. Sales of such vehicles are expected at 1.5 million units in 2020 - three times those of green cars last year. Its figure is below the government's target of 2 million units by 2020.

  • About half of the EV models that are set to launch globally by 2020 will be from Chinese carmakers. (Shanghai Daily, July 28)

Some Chinese electric car makers mull alliance to save money, time

  • A handful of China's many electric vehicle (EV) start-ups are considering setting up an alliance to pool resources, develop joint technology and bring cars more quickly to the world's biggest autos market.

  • As the industry shifts towards smart, internet-connected, battery cars, with electrified powertrains, it's increasingly hard for automakers to differentiate.

  • The move to pool resources and know-how highlights how Chinese start-ups are scrambling to save time and money in developing products as they face increased pressure from established global automakers shifting into a new market, so far led by Tesla.

  • Also, Chinese policymakers have put on hold approving new EV ventures because of concern that some start-ups have cut corners on technology or have set up just to access attractive subsidies. Regulators are reviewing licensing procedures and may bring in tougher technical requirements early next year, three EV start-up founders and executives told Reuters.

  • Freeman Shen, co-founder and CEO of WM Motor, reckons the prospect of tougher new technical requirements is a big factor spurring start-ups to consider an alliance to develop basic vehicle technology. (Reuters, July 27)

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