In 2020, autonomous driving will make great progress in capital and industry, and this upsurge will continue to 2021. In a short period of one month, the amount of financing has exceeded 2.6 billion US dollars, and a total of four automatic driving companies have successively released information.
Among them, cruise, the autopilot subsidiary of general motors, is the most powerful, with a total of more than US $2 billion. Investors include Microsoft, general motors, Honda, etc., which makes Cruise’s post investment valuation rise to US $30 billion.
In China, Didi auto driving, a travel giant, has recently completed $300 million in financing; among the start-ups, wenyuanzhixing weride has completed two rounds of B2 and B3 financing, with a total financing amount of $310 million in round B; Yushi technology has completed financing with a cumulative amount of more than 1 billion yuan.
In addition to capital grants, various types of enterprises are developing and landing rapidly. For example, baidu recently obtained the license for all driverless test in California, and it is reported that Volkswagen Group will set up a special research and development team for driverless vehicles.
At the same time, a number of autonomous driving enterprises are booming in the robotaxi track, unmanned minibus field, logistics and other scenes. It has become a common move for enterprises to continue to expand the automatic driving test area and explore the automatic driving without safety officers.
Although there are at most 100 self driving vehicles on the market, the trend of large-scale commercial use has become more and more obvious, and the iterative speed is faster and faster, and it will take time to popularize. However, compared with the history of mobile phones, self driving can be divided into six development stages, and the “era of mobile phones” that can self drive has quietly arrived.
If the development of automatic driving is divided into stages, it can be said that the forward part is basically completed, including deep learning, simulation test, algorithm, image recognition, road map, closed road section test and other technical breakthroughs, as well as the birth of the prototype of integrated software and hardware development. During this period, it is mainly around the basic research of science and technology.
At the present stage, the technology of automatic driving has begun to be used for civilian use. Both people and goods are being transported. It can be tested and operated on some open road sections. It has come to the stage of automatic driving mobile phone.
In the era of mobile phones, it was also the end of the concept machine and prototype machine period. With the long-term development of communication science, mobile phones became the first step of civil use. This means that communication technology can be commercialized, but it has not yet been popularized. As we all know, business is the premise of popularization, because the technology has the feasibility, although the cost is very high, and not universal, but its iteration will be rapid marketization.
In retrospect, we only remember mobile phones, but few people remember the brand of mobile phones. Now for ordinary users, they have just learned about the application of automatic driving, and it is difficult to distinguish the technical and strategic differences between brands. However, once it is found that the commercialization is feasible, various types of automatic driving will continue to flow into the industry, and soon a situation of competing with the Central Plains will be formed in the industry.
Just like mobile phones, Motorola, Ericsson and Nokia soon formed a stage of multi brand competition after mobile phones. At that time, these mobile phone brands focused on the function orientation of calling, and their products have become cooler. And the stage when all the heroes will rise together may soon come for autonomous driving.
During this period, who can seize enough market scale will be able to turn commercialization into popularization, from 100 automatic driving vehicles to 10000 or more. Then automatic driving will really become popular. Of course, in the process of large-scale expansion, automatic driving also needs to consider the safety problems on the road, and the final scenario selection and landing, we need the mainstream manufacturers to show their own skills.
After competing for supremacy, mobile phones have entered the era of Nokia hegemony, forming a pattern of dominance. This is often caused by a previous decision-making failure of a hegemon, such as the failure of Motorola’s communication scheme, which is a reason for the rise of Nokia. Maybe some autonomous driving companies will also make a big decision-making failure. Merger cases have existed before and will continue to occur later.
Then, in the fifth stage, the era of apple, the only overlord, is coming, and the era of smart phones is really starting. Until now, Apple’s mobile phones can still get about 90% of the profits. Perhaps in the future, Apple will be able to drive such an autopilot. A nationwide network will automatically communicate with all autopilot cars.
In the future, the mobile phone industry can be called a duel, that is, the fierce collision of Android and Apple’s two world outlooks, in which they develop their own partners and camps. Apple has its developers and supply chain, and Android has its own developers. Compared with automatic driving, there may be a dispute between Google and Tesla.
One side is Google’s R & D open automatic driving system, the other is application access; on the other side is the closed Tesla’s automatic driving plan, taking away the big profits, and other developers eat relatively small profits.
Interestingly, just last week, some media released an exclusive interview with waymoceojohn krafik, an autopilot company of Google. In the interview, Krafcik talked about the struggle for autopilot routes that lasted for many years, and directly criticized Tesla: “Tesla is not a competitor of waymo, because Tesla is an auxiliary driving system, not an unmanned driving system.”
In Krafcik’s view, these two technologies are totally different. They need to have strong AI capabilities and also take into account car building, which is too challenging. “It’s amazing that Tesla’s AI hardware and software are better than waymo’s,” Musk said on his social network
Today’s debate can hardly be divided into high and low. What’s more important is to look at the future, who can really and quickly carry out the large-scale commercial landing of automatic driving.
At present, Google mainly tests and operates in the United States. Tesla has been launched in the world and has started localization in China and other markets. It has similar ideas with apple, but Google can not provide services in China. Although Google is famous for its free and open culture, from the perspective of commercialization, it’s hard to say which ecosystem is more open and equal between Android and apple.
Back to autopilot, the above six stages may be quicker than imagined. According to the State Securities report, China’s automatic driving is in the stage of transforming L2 to L3 level. It is estimated that in 2025, L2.5 level automatic driving vehicle penetration rate will be 50%. In 2030, L2.5 and L4 level automatic driving vehicle penetration will reach 70% and 18% respectively.
At present, automatic driving is more like the era of mobile phones, and the era of competing brands will soon come. In the next 3-5 years and 5-10 years, changes will sneak quickly.
Editor in charge: Tzh