The combination of internet technology and the traditional automotive industry will become a major trend in the future, an industrial leader said on Monday.
"Electrification, intelligent connected vehicles, the sharing economy mode and internationalization will be the trend of the automotive industry," said Chen Hong, president of Shanghai-based SAIC Motor Corp Ltd and also a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress.
The company obtained the country's first license for an unmanned vehicle open road test last week. The other company to do so is Nio Auto, a Shanghai-based developer of high-performance electric vehicles.
"A real road test will put the unmanned vehicle into a much more challenging environment with unpredictable flow of pedestrians and cars around. It will also test the sensor's function among the buildings," said Zhang Cheng, general manager of the advanced technology center of SAIC Motor. "The large quantity of data collection will help better develop intelligent connected vehicles."
"We can only know the reliability, safety issues and potential problems through open road tests," Zhang said.
"SAIC Motor sold 6.93 million vehicles last year, taking up more than 23 percent of the market share," he said. "The group's revenue reached 840 billion yuan ($133 billion)."
"In the future, we will combine big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing with the automotive industry and push industrial upgrading forward," he said.
SAIC Motor developed the first intelligent connected vehicle with Alibaba in 2016. It sold 500,000 units in 18 months after it was released.
"The intelligent connected car is the strategic key for the country to become a leader in the future automotive industry. It is also the major factor that will allow the country to upgrade the automotive industry," Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, said at a recent conference.
Industrial experts also recognized the significance of intelligent connected vehicles, but said there are still problems yet to be solved.
"Intelligent connected cars will be the key to enhance safety, solve traffic jams, reduce energy consumption and lessen the negative impact on the environment," said Zhu Huarong, president of Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd.
"However, the current resource distribution is not integrated in the industrial chain," he said. "Thus, Chinese carmakers cannot integrate their resources to compete with their international counterparts. It also causes the waste of resources and disordered competition."
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