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SAIC Group: there is a lot of pressure to be a "classmate" with Tesla.
Jul 21,2020 10:36CST
The content below was translated by Tencent automatically for reference.

SMM News: in the face of Tesla's "strong" development in China, SAIC is facing an archenemy.

In the first half of 2020, Tesla delivered a total of 179000 vehicles worldwide; SAIC sold a total of 2.049 million vehicles, and Tesla's market capitalization has surpassed Toyota, ranking first in the world.

As of July 17, Tesla had a market capitalization of $278.4 billion (1.9 trillion yuan), while SAIC's market capitalization was Fengmao water chestnut.

"Tesla was placed next to SAIC as a classmate, and we were under a lot of pressure." So said Jin Zhongxiao, deputy director of the artificial intelligence laboratory of SAIC.

At present, the traditional automobile industry is experiencing a new round of technological upgrading, the automobile industry chain is facing a reshuffle, and the new industrial competition chain and value growth point are also born in this reform.

New technologies such as artificial intelligence have become giants and new engines for the upgrading of the automobile industry. As one of the promoters of the "new four modernizations", SAIC attaches particular importance to the "soft power" input of smart cars.

"We are going to use artificial intelligence to support the transformation and upgrading of SAIC, that is, we will be happy when our SAIC smart cars are better than Tesla." Jin Zhongxiao spoke bluntly.

We have to be "soft".

The "enemy" all hit the door.

Tesla's sales share in the pure electric market has reached 23%, while Tesla is still a pure increment in the second half of the year, and the electric car market in the second half of the year will be significantly higher than that in the second half of last year, according to the federation of passengers. According to the China Automotive Information Network, 14976 domestic Model 3s were registered in China in June, a month-on-month increase of 32% and a record high.

This is an achievement that no Chinese car company can compete with in the field of mid-and high-end electric vehicles. Chen Hong said bluntly that Tesla is not a car company in the traditional sense, but more like a technology company.

As the largest auto group by sales in China, SAIC's every move is the weather vane of China's auto market. In addition, under the cold winter, the transformation challenges that SAIC faces are different.

At present, building automotive hard core technology is one of the important tasks in the transformation process of SAIC. The change brought by "software-defined car" is accelerating, and it will become the "innovation threshold" that must be crossed in the reform and development of automobile enterprises.

The artificial intelligence laboratory of SAIC Group, formerly known as a project team of SAIC Anji Logistics, was officially upgraded to a group-level artificial intelligence laboratory in June 2018 in order to cooperate with the group's technological upgrading. began to undertake the task of technological upgrading of the entire SAIC Group.

"except for the two main leaders, all the other R & D personnel are re-recruited." Jin Zhongxiao said that in order to set up an innovative technology research and development team, SAIC's artificial intelligence laboratory attaches particular importance to the excavation and introduction of talents.

At present, there are more than 100 R & D personnel in the laboratory, including more than 60 doctorates and more than 40 masters, all from top universities at home and abroad, and 42% of them are studying abroad.

According to the group's business plan, the task of the laboratory is mainly focused on the technical empowerment of SAIC's four sectors: intelligent vehicles, intelligent travel, intelligent manufacturing and intelligent logistics.

At present, the most difficult or core technology in the field of self-driving technology is four technologies, perception, positioning, decision-making and control. "the core of our laboratory is in the two fields of perception and positioning." Jin Zhongxiao said frankly that after more than a year of research and development, the laboratory has achieved phased results in the fields of perception and positioning.

High-grade self-driving has become an important track for automobile companies to invest in research, and it is also the commanding height of the competition of automobile products in the future. According to SAIC, on the basis of the successful demonstration operation in 2019, the "5G+L4" smart heavy truck independently developed by the company will carry out quasi-commercial operation in Shanghai Yangshan Port in the near future, and plans to complete 20, 000 standard container transport tasks this year.

Compared with the "radical" of commercial vehicles, SAIC's self-driving passenger cars appear to be more "pragmatic". Jin Zhongxiao said that SAIC's basic idea for developing smart cars is that the technology should be mature, the cost can be controlled, and it is safe and reliable. In this way of thinking, the development of driving technology is the real economy, and it is more pragmatic to do so.

Seeking change in "danger"

The global automobile industry is facing great changes not seen in a century. China's automobile industry is undergoing a major adjustment not seen in many years, and the sudden new crown epidemic has become a catalyst for the automobile industry to form a new pattern.

According to SAIC's production and sales Express data, its sales fell by 30.24% in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period last year. Only 34.2% of the annual sales target of 6 million vehicles was achieved.

SAIC seeks change in the midst of "danger".

In 2018, SAIC proposed to empower the automobile industry through artificial intelligence at the first World artificial Intelligence Conference.

At the 2020 World artificial Intelligence Conference, Wang Xiaoqiu, president of SAIC, once again stressed the importance of new technologies such as artificial intelligence for the transformation and development of the automobile industry. He said that accelerating the deep integration of new technologies such as artificial intelligence with the automobile industry and continuing to stimulate new momentum will be the inherent requirement for the transformation and upgrading of the automobile industry.

After two years of time layout, the "5G+L4-class intelligent driving heavy truck" built by SAIC completed the world's first demonstration operation during the second Expo in November 2019, realizing the self-driving operation in the area of Donghai Bridge and Yangshan Deepwater Port, and effectively improving the efficiency of port operation and road traffic.

At the same time, the key components such as the specification-level intelligent driving domain controller (iECU) and the intelligent network connection controller (iBOX) independently developed by SAIC have also realized mass production applications.

At the end of 2019, SAIC established a software center, which aims to accelerate the upgrading of self-driving, mobile travel and other businesses by integrating resources and developing a unified software architecture, data platform and development system. Through the consolidation of software technology, so as to stimulate the new momentum of the automobile industry, has become an important strategy of SAIC.

Jin Zhongxiao said that the work of the artificial intelligence laboratory and the software center will also cooperate with each other. The lab focuses on the application software of smart cars, and the software center is mainly responsible for platform-level software. "the artificial intelligence laboratory will use the platform and data provided by the software center to provide application scenarios to make cars smarter."

"unlike other laboratories, our laboratory is mainly application-oriented, and the results of the laboratory have to be mass-produced on the ground." Jin Zhongxiao said frankly that the assessment indicators given to the laboratory by SAIC are not empty words, but are quantified on top of the results. For example, how many technologies are mass produced, how much these technologies increase the sales of new cars in the group, and how many differentiated technologies fall on smart cars.

The development of automobile intelligent network has become the trend of the times. Especially the new forces represented by Tesla, their products are much more intelligent than traditional car companies, and are rapidly grabbing the market share of traditional fuel vehicles. In addition to Tesla, domestic auto companies are putting increasing pressure on SAIC. On July 10, BYD's total market capitalization reached 225.3 billion yuan, surpassing SAIC's 221.2 billion yuan to become China's largest auto company by market capitalization.

SAIC must make substantial changes.


Affected by the global auto market environment, SAIC's revenue and profits have both suffered setbacks. However, only with sustained R & D investment can SAIC remain at the forefront in the field of new automotive technology.

In 2019, SAIC has invested nearly 14.8 billion yuan in research and development.

From the current pattern of the automobile industry, the concentration of the market is increasing, and weak brands are facing elimination. Automobile companies' investment in the field of the "new four modernizations" has increased significantly, which also makes profit growth face greater challenges. In addition, new competitors continue to cross the border to compete with traditional cars, and the original market is constantly being eroded, making it more and more difficult to maintain market share.

Judging from the development momentum of Tesla, no matter which car company is a "classmate", it will feel a lot of pressure. However, this pressure will be turned into a driving force for enterprises, just as Tesla has formed a "catfish effect" in the Chinese market, forcing traditional Chinese car companies to transform and make progress.

At present, continuously improving the core competence building of the four centers of artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and Internet connection information security (ABCS) to provide a more solid foundation for SAIC to speed up the application of software technology in products and services is no longer a simple slogan, but a solid foundation for SAIC to consolidate.

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