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China needs driverless car fleets, policy support

Reporter: Xia Cheng 丨 CCTV.com

04-26-2016 16:36 BJT

Driving in China makes you think of traffic jams and loud horns in rush hour. But this would all change thanks to fast growing autonomous driving technology. So who’s ahead of the pack in the race to perfect driverless vehicles?

We learnt how to drive on wheels in the past century. Now we teach that to vehicles. This matters to the Chinese market where roads are crowded, drivers are under stress and fatalities are on the rise.

Boston Consulting Group says China will soon corner more than a quarter of the driverless car market, which is expected to hit 12 million by 2035. That’s why global car makers are geeking out together at the Beijing autoshow 2016.

"Volvo started many years ago, taking lead, driveme program in Gothenburg, hq, putting on street 100 autonomous cars, driven by normal customers, not engineers, this is starting point of our adventure in very new area that we believe, truly signifies future of cars," said Yuan Xiaolin, Volvo Asia Pacific CEO.

"To be able to adapt to wider market, rollout different tests around world, Europe, Americas, asia. In china now we’re selecting our potential partners for cooperation, trying to do this test, gain experience, to further advance our tech, really put the car, with full autonomous drive on the street."

China's Chang An has wrapped up China’s first road test of autonomous driving before the autoshow.

BAIC is offering test drive of its driverless car at the show.

Chinese IT firms are getting in on the act. Baidu has plans for self-driving buses by 2018. LeECO at the auto show has an electric car that can park itself and be summoned by smartphone.

One expert says, however, the battle for autonomous driving is fought among auto suppliers.

"Do suppliers have the capabilities now? this kind of tech:driverless, comes from traditional safety tech, a lot of suppliers in this field, they want to use this kind of tech to improve their value. quite eager to invest," said Junyi Zhang, partner in Auto, Roland Berger China.

And that includes investments into localised technologies in China. Think Continental.

"New stuff on automation…radar camera…just acquired a new company, more than 1600 engineers worldwide working on that, localising ADAS, in China. investing into equipment in factories near shanghai next year. no time lag for China from europe US," said Ralf Cramer, Continental AG China CEO, exe. Board Member.

The company is expected to test their technology on the wild Chinese roads within this year. Bosch claims automated driving systems will bump up annual sales by 1 billion euro this year. It’s also investing in high-def mapping and smart garage.

"Roland Berger says In 20 years, driverless cars will no longer be owned by people, but by fleet management services.
That model is expected to work well in China," said Rolf Bulander, Bosch chairman of mobility solutions.

"Analysts say if China could come up with more supportive measures and higher safety standards for the sector, it will truly mobilise the world’s largest auto market."

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