A couple of glorious hikes up the Four Beasts this weekend inspired some thoughts about the rising flood of rumors about Apple developing a car.
While I have no way of knowing whether these rumors are true, they certainly do not come as much of a surprise. Forget analyst noise about low margins and other challenges of entering the automotive market. From a strategic perspective, Apple has no choice but to join the fray in order to establish leadership in the development and integration of emerging AI, Lidar, cloud, wireless, and related autonomous driving technologies. If it does not, the company risks falling behind others that are already taking the leap. Continue reading Notes from the field: Apple car rumors not much of a surprise
A hectic start to the year! Many of the projects we have been quietly working on over the past couple of years are finally ready for prime time.
Take the strategic agreement we recently signed with King Long, one of the leading bus manufacturers in the world, as an example. We are very excited to be teaming up with them on the development of 5G passenger and commercial applications. The potential is huge, not just in China but throughout the world. Continue reading Notes from the field: a hectic start to the year!
When analyzing the autonomous vehicle market, it’s useful to divide it into two key segments. The first and by far the biggest of these is vehicle safety. This is where most of the growth has been over the last decade as auto makers have added more and more ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance) features such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to their vehicles either as standard or an optional add-on.
During the current decade, the integration of smart assisted and autonomous driving features in new vehicles will continue to accelerate as a result of combination of factors, including fierce market competition, rapid technology development, and stricter government regulations. By 2030, most new vehicles will have the ability to drive autonomously even though they likely will still have a driver – much like jet planes fly today. While autonomous driving will be possible on most major highways, it will still be severely limited in cities and towns because of the complexity of urban environments. Continue reading Notes from the field: analyzing the autonomous vehicle market
It’s been fascinating to watch how the autonomous vehicle narrative has changed over the past year or so. Not so long ago a legion experts, many of whom were not entirely coincidentally connected to the VC-Startup complex, were predicting that 2020 was set to be the year in which self-driving cars and trucks finally arrived. Now, according to predictions by those who think they know best, it will take at least another decade before the true age of autonomy explodes.
Given that there already well over a billion vehicles on the road and the political complexity of pushing through new legislation and regulation, it is more likely that the transition to autonomy will take much longer than a single decade. It’s also probable that there will be multiple bursts in different categories rather than a single big bang. Continue reading Notes from the field: the ever-changing autonomous vehicle narrative
A busy first day at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. It was very encouraging to see so much interest in our VIA Mobile360 M800 Series in-vehicle safety systems and D700 AI dash cam for fleet management applications.
It was fun, too, to walk around the show floor and take a look at the other exhibits. As naïve as it may sound, I had never realized how big some of these trucks can be before I saw them before my very eyes. Most of them are far too large for the bustling streets of Taipei. Continue reading notes from the field: Work Truck Show 2020 first day
I never feel that the new year has truly started until we have our company “weiya” (尾牙) to herald the imminent arrival of the Chinese Lunar New Year. It’s always fun to catch up with colleagues from throughout the world that I haven’t seen in a while, not to mention celebrate major career milestones with ones who have completed ten or even twenty years with the company.
We held our Taipei weiya last night. The China grand tour begins on Friday with a banquet in Shenzhen followed by events in Shanghai and Beijing next week. After that I will go on to our office in Fremont for a few days before finally returning to Taiwan for the actual Chinese New Year Holiday, which takes place from January 23 to January 29. By that time, I’m sure that even the loudest firecrackers won’t be able to wake me from my slumber! Continue reading Notes from the field: heralding the lunar new year at the VIA weiya
At the STS Forum in Kyoto in October, one of the most interesting topics discussed was the huge challenge Japan faces dealing with its rapidly growing elderly population. The situation is particularly acute in rural areas, because most young people have left them to find work in the big cities and public transportation services are so limited that the elderly fight to hang on to their cars way past the time they are able to drive safely. As one speaker pointed out, this is leading to a growing number fatalities among young people caused by elderly drivers who, for example, press the accelerator rather than brake pedal.
Even though the UK and other developed economies don’t have quite the same proportion of elderly people in their populations, they too will face the same issues over the next two or three decades. A big danger is that many old people will end up spending the latter part of their lives virtually marooned in their homes because they are physically incapable of making it to the bus stop – much less getting to the clinic or hospital for a medical appointment or even the café or shop for a natter with friends. Continue reading Notes from the field: improving rural mobility for the elderly
If you look back at the history of the tech industry, a major transition takes place roughly every decade that drives new applications, form factors, and usage models and expands the overall user base and market size.
In the 1990s, there was tremendous growth in the PC market as prices went down, notebooks became lighter and more portable, and a wider range of business and home software applications became available. Continue reading Great tech industry transitions: from the PC to Mobility
On the subject of eureka moments, I would say that I experienced one of my own when I went on a flying visit to automotive component and EV R&D and manufacturing facilities in Ningbo, Nanjing, Huia’an, and Huzhou in April last year.
My experiences on the trip taught me three important lessons. First, it showed me the seriousness with which China is working to build a world-class EV (Electric Vehicle) ecosystem spanning research and development, component manufacturing, vehicle assembly, and on-the-road deployment. This ecosystem covers smaller hinterland cities as well as the major metros and will be a major force for future economic growth as the EV market expands. China is already the largest manufacturer of EV cars and buses in the world, and its domestic market is dwarfs that of other countries such as the US. It’s inevitable that intense competition between its manufacturers will drive innovation and growth at a much greater speed and scale than in other markets. Continue reading Three lessons from a tour of the China EV ecosystem
When Silicon Valley startups pitch to potential investors, they like to include a slide or two describing their eureka moment when the founders hit on the brilliant idea that inspired them embark on their journey to change the world.
The story of our entry into the automotive business is a lot more prosaic. It started with the development of fleet management systems for customers in the transportation and logistics industry and evolved organically as we developed successive generations of products to meet their growing compute and connectivity requirements. Continue reading From fleet management systems to 360-degree video mining solutions