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
There are many ways to look at the emerging autonomous vehicle market landscape. I like to keep my own view of it as simple as possible by breaking it down into three segments.
The segment that grabs the lion’s share of the attention is the one for new-build vehicles. This is of course no surprise given the huge investments that all the world’s auto manufacturers are making into integrating semi-autonomous driver assistance and features into their latest models and developing fully-autonomous vehicles in the future. Then of course there’s Tesla, the big daddy of them all. Despite its miniscule market share, it certainly leads the rest of the industry in terms of consumer perception because of the superior user experience its vehicles deliver. Continue reading A brief look at the emerging autonomous vehicle market landscape
The mining and excavation industry operates some of the largest vehicles on earth, moving several hundreds of tons of material every day by using super-sized vehicles like trucks, diggers and and excavators. The challenge from a safety perspective is that these massive vehicles can represent quite a danger to other on-site workers, largely due to blind spots in the driver’s field of view. To reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities, many mining and quarry operators are turning to advanced surround view technologies to improve safety. One such solution is the VIA Mobile 360 Mining Kit which VIA officially launched just days ago at the CIM 2019 Convention in Montreal. Continue reading Boosting mining vehicle safety with the VIA Mobile360 Mining Kit
It’s hard work keeping up with all the noise and hype surrounding the great autonomous vehicle race. Will a winner cross the finishing line next year or in five years’ time? Everybody has a different answer to this question. Will the winner come from the US, Germany, or China? This is when things to start to get really interesting.
And will the ultimate winner turn out to be a company that doesn’t even design or manufacture autonomous cars at all but operates huge fleets of them like airlines today and wrests control of the all-important consumer relationship away from the world’s top global automotive brands? This is a strong possibility – but whether the likes of Uber and Lyft will prove to be the winners isn’t clear at this stage despite what they have been claiming in their IPO documents. Continue reading Buckle up for the great autonomous vehicle race
I’m back in Shanghai for the first time since the start of the Lunar New Year. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and the cherry blossoms are blooming. Who needs springtime in Paris?
I’m here to take part in the 9th China International New Energy and Intelligence Vehicle Forum (NEV China 2019), which takes place tomorrow and Wednesday. At the event we will be talking about our future development plans for VIA Mobile360 autonomous driving platforms, not to mention demonstrating the “Little Lion” unmanned delivery vehicle from our partner Aisimba featuring our technology. Continue reading Cherry blossoms and unmanned delivery vehicles
Last Friday, I spent a highly enjoyable afternoon at the No. 80 High School of Beijing giving students from countries as diverse as Pakistan, Tunisia, Nigeria, and Serbia an introduction to the basics of AI. Continue reading Test-driving the Chuangzaoli driverless car kit