China to catch up with Western automakers in era of smart vehicles

Updated 2018-04-11 13:50:02

China's developed artificial intelligent (AI) supply chain, as well as the country's huge local application scenarios, is opening up opportunities for domestic intelligent vehicle manufactures to catch up with Western automakers, He Xiaopeng, founder of smart car start-up X-peng, told the Global Times on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia.[Special coverage]

"In the intelligent vehicle sector, I believe the Chinese fish can swallow the foreign fish because the smart cars produced by foreign rivals, in my view, don't cater to Chinese consumers," He said.

Smart cars generally refer to vehicles equipped with an AI system and sensors that can support quick decision-making, representing the third phase of technological development in the auto industry, after gasoline automobiles and electric vehicles.

For example, although many foreign automakers have installed autonomous parking in their cars, seldom will Chinese residents use the function because the technology they developed does not match local scenarios, He noted.

Localized applications and surging domestic demand will give Chinese automakers an edge over European, Japan and US rivals, He said, while also taking note of China's well-developed AI parts upstream and downstream supply chain.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has also released favorable policies in supporting the innovative development of smart cars, according to He.

But he admitted that in the gasoline and new- energy vehicle sectors "technological barriers and the manufacturing gap between China and foreign competitors are so large that it will be almost impossible to close the gap in the short term."

"However, things will be different in the near future," He stressed.

The biggest challenge for intelligent vehicles lies in the slow data transmission speed, which He said can be compared to a primitive period when Chinese were using dial-up internet.

"When the data transmission speed accelerates to be comparable to that of the 4G era, the industry will be on the fast track," He said.

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