Taking my first ever ride on a self-driving EV bus was by far the biggest highlight of my trip to China. Doubly so because we provided the brains of the vehicle in the form of a VIA Mobile360 system that our engineers customized to meet the specific needs of our partner, Enchi Auto.
For the installation, we enabled support for four cameras to capture a full 360-degree view of the bus traveling along road and its surroundings plus an ADAS camera for lane monitoring. In addition, we created a display panel showing real-time information about the status of the vehicle, including the speed at which it is traveling and whether it’s turning a corner. Alongside this information, the display also provides a high-resolution panoramic view of the vehicle and its surroundings.
At the launch event held on Sunday, Enchi also showed an impressive array of EVs that it’s launching, ranging from single-seat micros, SUVs, camper vans, and sports cars to golf buggies, sightseeing buses, and delivery trucks. Talk about covering all segments of the market – and perhaps even creating new ones!
Indeed, the most important lesson I learned from my trip is that the transition from the internal combustion engine to battery power will drive a lot more changes in the auto market than the type of fuel being used. The greater simplicity and versatility of EV platforms will make it much easier and cheaper for manufacturers to make vehicles of diverse shapes and sizes and customize their designs for a myriad of different applications and use cases, whether it be micro-vehicles for dense urban environments or robotic carts for shuffling goods around warehouses and sprawling factories.
IoT and AI applications will also play an important role not just in improving safety but also in enabling new in-vehicle services and experiences such as virtual tourist guides for sightseeing buses and real-time mentoring on how to sort out the kinks in your golf swing while riding your buggy to the next hole.
The self-driving EV revolution is only just starting. Fasten your seatbelt tightly for the wild ride ahead.