The new age of driv­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG YING in Shang­hai

wang_y­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Elec­tron­ics com­pany TE Con­nec­tiv­ity is eye­ing greater rev­enue gains from the con­nected car in­dus­try as its top brass ex­pects such ve­hi­cles to rev­o­lu­tion­ize the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try soon.

Listed in the United States, TE Con­nec­tiv­ity is a pub­lic-traded com­pany with prod­ucts rang­ing from con­nec­tors, sen­sors and elec­tronic com­po­nents.

“Just like the birth of the Model T, the very first car pro­duced in the world in 1908, the con­nected car has the power to shake up the auto in­dus­try pro­foundly, and we are very op­ti­mistic about the outlook,” said Shen Weim­ing, vice-pres­i­dent and general man­ager of TE Con­nec­tiv­ity’s au­to­mo­tive divi­sion in China.

“Our divi­sion is plan­ning to dou­ble the rev­enue in the China mar­ket by 2020,” he added.

Last year, TE Con­nec­tiv­ity’s au­to­mo­tive divi­sion in China re­ported a 16 per­cent year-on-year growth rate.

The dou­ble dig­i­tal growth was achieved even as China’s au­to­mo­tive sales posted a three-year-low growth rate of 4.7 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to data from the China As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers. The as­so­ci­a­tion ex­pects sales of ve­hi­cles in China to in­crease by about 6 per­cent to reach 26.04 mil­lion this year.

Ac­cord­ing to pre­dic­tions by IHS Au­to­mo­tive, the sales of con­nected cars — ve­hi­cles that are hooked up to the In­ter­net — are ex­pected to grow six-fold glob­ally to hit 250 mil­lion by 2020.

Hou Yafei, head

of

project devel­op­ment with Duxes Busi­ness Con­sult­ing Inc, said that the con­nected car mar­ket in China alone will grow 40.9 per­cent to 155 bil­lion yuan ($23.87 bil­lion) this year. She added that more than 20 au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ers are about to launch or are plan­ning to in­stall con­nected ve­hi­cle ser­vices within three years.

Lin Rong, deputy di­rec­tor of China Trans­port Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions & In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter, be­lieves that this par­tic­u­lar sec­tor would ac­count for one-sixth of the In­ter­net of Things in the fu­ture. He added that re­search find­ings showed 90 per­cent of the cars on the roads come 2020 will have In­ter­net ac­cess.

“Since the mod­ern au­to­mo­bile was in­vented, its ba­sic func­tion­al­ity and shape have re­mained es­sen­tially the same. How­ever, the en­vi­ron­ment in which ve­hi­cles op­er­ate, and the data to which they con­nect in or­der to im­prove or en­hance the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, are chang­ing dra­mat­i­cally,” stated a white pa­per by TE.

“TE is aim­ing to be­come the ‘en­abler’ of the auto in­dus­try rev­o­lu­tion,” said Shen, who added that as­pects such as safety, en­vi­ron­ment and life­style changes will be play­ing im­por­tant roles in the con­nected car rev­o­lu­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search find­ings, 90 per­cent of crashes are caused by hu­man er­ror and Shen be­lieves that ad­vanced driver as­sis­tance sys­tems (ADAS) will be the way for­ward for car man­u­fac­tur­ers to help cus­tomers pre­vent col­li­sions. IHS fore­sees that cars with au­ton­o­mous driv­ing modes will reach 7 mil­lion by 2035, an in­di­ca­tion of the promis­ing mar­ket po­ten­tial for such tech­nol­ogy.

Ac­cord­ing to Shen, while the tech­nolo­gies and ca­pa­bil­i­ties are al­ready in place and are con­stantly evolv­ing to pro­duce the con­nected car of the fu­ture, there are still prob­lems that need to be solved within the ecosys­tem, such as se­cu­rity and pri­vacy, In­ter­net ac­cess, in­fra­struc­ture, au­ton­o­mous driv­ing buy-in and eco­nom­ics.

Yu Guang, di­rec­tor of the tech­nol­ogy divi­sion at the China As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers, said that the ac­tual devel­op­ment of the con­nected ve­hi­cle in­dus­try might not take place as smoothly as ex­pected. He cited the chal­lenge of hav­ing to first set up an in­tel­li­gent trans­porta­tion sys­tem, which will re­quire some time, be­fore con­nected cars can be­come avail­able.

“China’s au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is about four and five years be­hind the global stan­dard and com­pa­nies will need more pa­tience in wait­ing for the growth and ma­tu­rity of the China’s con­nected ve­hi­cle in­dus­try,” said Yu.

vice-pres­i­dent and general man­ager of TE Con­nec­tiv­ity’s au­to­mo­tive divi­sion in China

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