What’s Driving China’s Autonomous Vehicle Madness? – Marketingwithanoy

A lot of support from the government, it seems

China’s autonomous vehicle the industry first started to see some traction around 2016, when a number of ambitious startups mushroomed after advances in lidar, computing and machine learning. But the nascent industry was still in low gear, as the people working on the technology tended to have computer science backgrounds and not many with extensive experience in the automotive industry.

Everyone wanted to build robotic axes back then, recalls Hongquan Jiang, chairman and managing partner at Boyuan Capital, Bosch’s newly established venture capital arm in China. “If you then told people you were doing level 2.5 or 3” [the human driver is expected to take over]you would be scorned. But people in the industry soon realized level 4 [the driver can take a nap in most circumstances] was still a distant dream,” Jiang told Marketingwithanoy.

Regardless, the ambitions of these founders kept them on track, and the industry is finally seeing a resurgence in China. Unlike the previous generation of founders, the space is now seeing more automotive expertise pour in. This generation also seems to be more pragmatic and instead of shooting for the stars, they are focused on market demand.

A lot can happen in China thanks to government support, but not necessarily elsewhere. Hongquan Jiang

This focus reaps appropriate rewards for startups. The industry saw a period of unprecedented acceleration in 2021, with more than $8.5 billion invested in robotic axi startups, self-driving truck developers, lidar makers, smart electric car makers and chip makers focused on vehicle automation, according to Crunchbase.

Investors these days have good reason to throw money into this sector as well: sensors are getting cheaper and more capable, talent from the AI ​​and automotive industries is coming together, the government has put in place a slew of favorable policies and demand is rising as China prepares. to cope with the decline in the labor force.

There is no fear when the state backs you

Momenta has a strategic partnership with the home city government of Suzhou to deploy robotic axi fleets on the city’s roads. Image Credits: momenta

Like other sectors that rely on public infrastructure, companies working to put driverless taxis, trucks and buses on the roads in China have benefited immensely from government support.

Leave a comment