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搶自駕車商機 台灣不缺席 (2017-09-19 IEK產業情報網 )

Autonomous vehicles will be headline news over and over again throughout this year. Mergers and acquisitions at sky-high prices, alliances with huge investment and soaring stock prices will be more dazzling than ever. Although the perfect autonomous vehicles won’t be launched until around 2025, the not-so-perfect “quasi-autonomous vehicles” are able to create huge business opportunities in the meantime. At present, the biggest beneficiaries are Tesla and its supply chain.
Tesla, the global autonomous electric vehicle leader, announced on March 27 that Tencent (China) had acquired 5% of Tesla’s equity shares for nearly US$1.8 billion in investment. With this huge investment, Tesla expects to accelerate the launch of its affordable Model 3, which will enable Tesla to improve the functionality of its autonomous vehicles faster.
With an 11.3% rise in stock price, March was a proud month for Tesla. Tesla’s stock price continued to rise for several days after Tencent’s investment announcement, from US$270 on March 27 to US$303.7 on April 4. The record high stock price raised Tesla’s market value to US$49.4 billion, exceeding Ford’s market value of US$45.2 billion and approaching the market value of General Motors (US$51.3 billion), the leader of US automobile industry.
Tesla is a global leader in terms of the commercialization of self-driving technology. It released its second generation Autopilot (8.1) on March 29. With an updated self-driving system, Autopilot has many new features and supports a smart summon function and auto-turn with a maximum speed of 130 km/hr, rendering it a “quasi-autonomous vehicle.” Tesla’s new trial feature, “summon,” allows the electric vehicle to leave a parking space by itself without manual operation. The second generation Autopilot is also equipped with a button that facilitates lane changing. If a lane is empty, the user can change to the empty lane with one press of the button.
Tesla’s primary goal this year is to make the Model 3 the world’s first mass-produced “electronic quasi-autonomous vehicle.” Recent reports pointed out that every Tesla vehicle has been equipped with a supercomputer and the latest version of the autopilot suite, making the Model 3 ten times safer than other vehicles and reducing the chance of fatal accidents by 90%.
In early March, Intel acquired Mobileye’s computer vision technology for US$15.3 billion. Such technology equips autonomous vehicles with “sharp vision,” which enables the autonomous vehicles to “clearly see” their surroundings. Meanwhile, Intel provides the autonomous vehicles with their “brain,” which completes the calculation process of autonomous driving. In an interview conducted by CNBC at the end of March, Intel’s CEO boasted that Intel will make autonomous vehicles a reality on the road by 2024.
Recently, BMW has claimed that it will launch a "Level 5" autonomous vehicle by 2021. Its ambition to be the leader of autonomous vehicles is very strong. The world-leading automobile manufacturers have also made their best efforts in the advancement of autonomous vehicles, to bring the currently imperfect self-driving technology to the perfect Level 5 fully-autonomous driving, i.e., autonomous vehicles without steering wheels. These vehicles will not require a driver to be in the vehicle and the passengers won’t need to control the vehicle at any time.
Kai-Fu Lee said, “The dream of autonomous vehicles is a beautiful one, but the path to achieve it is far from smooth.” He believes that people will call a car service whenever they need it in the era of autonomous vehicles without needing to purchase an automobile themselves, and so parking lots will no longer be needed. Autonomous vehicle sharing will become a revolutionary new service that will truly satisfy the users’ transportation needs, and it will become a trillion-dollar business opportunity. The benefits of autonomous vehicles will be immeasurable.
However, in the course of their development, autonomous vehicles will face numerous challenges with regard to safety and regulatory reform. Nevertheless, many opportunities will also appear on the way. Autonomous vehicles are not only limited to sedans. The quasi-autonomous vehicles can create huge business opportunities in specific regions, routes and environments. For example, the quasi-autonomous vehicles in national parks are slow and safe for people, and the routes are simple.
Kaohsiung Mayor, Chu Chen, signed a contract with France, to introduce autonomous shuttle buses to Kaohsiung. Mayor Chen pointed out that, with the promotion of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Plan led by the central government, the autonomous shuttle buses will be able to integrate with the existing transport system, and the buses and the system can complement each other leading to a synergistic effect.
ITRI IEK said that the era of shifting from quasi-autonomous vehicles to perfectly autonomous vehicles has come. The average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the global market for automotive technology will reach 134% from 2016 to 2020. The technology industry and automobile industry are competing for the market, and Taiwan’s ICT manufacturers will not be absent from the competition.
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