China’s ADAS Market Braves Covid, as Players Increase Eye Production and Expansion
When it comes to ADAS, or Advanced Driver Assistance System, opinions are divided as to which of the three main technical paths is better: super-fast vision-based algorithm software, speed cameras, or laser radar. , simply known as Lidar.
While Tesla’s Elon Musk hates Lidar, larger slices of the self-driving community are embracing the technology, with mass adoption driven by falling costs and a boom in supply, according to a Bloomberg report.
Despite Musk’s frequent rants against Lidar and his open objection to the use of Lidars on Tesla cars, China’s self-driving startup community seems to be taking a more eclectic approach to applying and integrating different enabling technologies.
Under normal circumstances, ADAS developers would use three types of built-in sensors, namely cameras, radars, and Lidars, to map the surrounding environment and calculate distances and speeds of moving objects.
Each device has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, the radar’s radio wave transmission is unaffected by visibility, lighting, and noise, but the device is held back by limitations, including low-definition modeling.
Lidar is highly accurate due to its significant computing power, but this proves to be a double-edged sword as it is also prone to system malfunctions and software glitches.
The third option, which transforms camera-captured images into data for analysis via algorithms, also recognizes road conditions and is relatively cheaper than Lidar and radar. However, it is hampered by poor visibility in adverse weather conditions.
According to projections by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), the country’s ADAS market recorded sales of 84.4 billion yuan in 2020, up 19.3 percent year on year. With the increase in penetration rate, the domestic ADAS market is expected to reach 225 billion yuan by 2025.
Within the booming industry, a number of players have established themselves with their ADAS strengths, such as Zongmu Technology (Chinese: 纵目科技), Chuhang Technology (Chinese: 楚航科技), and UISEE (Chinese:驭势科技).
Zongmu Technology, a company specializing in the research and development of ADAS, including 2D and 3D surround view systems, self-parking solutions and driving recording systems, recently closed a financing round series E worth more than CNY 1 billion (USD 151). million).
According to a company statement, proceeds from this round will be used to fund R&D, manufacturing and business expansion.
Tang Rui, founder and CEO of Zongmu Technology, has 14 years of R&D management experience in automotive electronic semiconductors in Silicon Valley. In an exclusive interview with EqualOcean, he shared his thoughts on the ADAS industry and the development of Zongmu. He said amid a tide of government policy support and a burning market, the company’s existing production capacity is not enough to meet the needs of its customers.
“Orders are exploding. Our two factories in Xiamen (Fujian province) and Huzhou (Zhejiang province) can only handle the production of several hundred thousand units. To cope with the growing needs, we are building a new factory in Dongyang (also in Zhejiang province) which will be operational in 2023,” Tang told EqualOcean. “By then, we will be able to produce over 2 million units of ADAS, including electronic control units (ECUs) and sensors.”
Despite the growing market share and bright outlook, Tang said the industry faces multiple challenges, citing soaring raw material prices, chip shortages and the coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai and the rest of the world. other cities.
The pandemic has caused lockdowns with repercussions across the entire industry chain, seemingly exacerbating the already severe supply shortage.
“Rising raw material costs and prolonged chip shortages are slowing the market. Also, we are still evaluating the effects of the pandemic in Shanghai on auto parts supply, but one thing is for sure, the auto market will decline this year,” Tang said.
As the lockdown continues to clamp down and supply chain disruptions linger, auto-related companies are busy assessing the damage to their business, but some are relatively more optimistic about a turnaround.
Dr. Zhang Wogong, co-founder and CTO of Chuhang Technology, told EqualOcean in another interview that the industry is facing a chronic shortage of raw materials, chips and batteries, but he believes the market will overcome this. difficult times given the resurgence of tax relief, a faster recovery of production and other forms of political incentives.
For example, according to industry watchers, Chinese government support for electric vehicle makers now extends to related technologies such as wireless charging.
The benefits of wireless charging are obvious. Users do not need to plug their car into a charging pile or wait for the car to be charged. And recharging a car’s battery is comparable to recharging a smartphone without the pesky wires, a development that will dramatically improve efficiency and grant car users a higher degree of autonomy.
Currently, according to Tang, three forms of charging solutions dominate the industry. Besides individual charging technology and OEM-built super-charging stations, the electric vehicle wireless charging system (EVWCS) is a complementary and nascent option, Tang said, adding that it is also supported by the government.
Zongmu Technology develops two types of EVWCS. One is an 11 kW EVWCS used for electric vehicles. Combined with the company’s signature Autonomous Valet Parking (AVP) technology that can achieve L4 self-driving, the charging system can be deployed in parks and parking lots.
Another type of EVWCS, with voltage from 1kW to 3kW, is developed for self-driving delivery vehicles and increases charging efficiency to more than 90%. Zongmu will mass-produce it in the third quarter of 2022, Tang revealed.
During the talks, Tang and Dr. Zhang of Chuhang Technology expressed their ambition to tap into overseas markets, believing that the competition is less fierce while the scope for growth is immense. The global ADAS market size was USD 27.29 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 58.59 billion in 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.4% in the meantime, according to Fortune Business. Insights.
According to Tang, Zongmu Technology defines itself as a global company, with offices in Detroit and Stuttgart. He revealed that Zongmu will expand into the international market this year and they are working on a detailed plan.
Dr Zhang of Chuhang Technology said the company had already taken a step recently in its globalized operation, having received the coveted CE mark from the European Union. Obtaining this mark will remove barriers for Chuhang to sell its millimeter wave radar sensors to European markets and automakers.