Make cars more than just a “phone with four wheels”!
This article is based on an interview undertaken by FusionMedium’s technology online media, TechOrange, and published with permission:
The market scale of smart vehicles continues to multiply, making electric and self-driving vehicles an irreversible trend. An intelligent vehicle system includes, in addition to ADAS and self-driving systems that assist driving judgment and enhance safety, an intelligent cockpit composed of a smart console, instrument panels, and on-board entertainment systems.
With Taiwan at the forefront of the emergence and development of the ICT and semiconductor industries over the past few decades, the island’s vendors are well-positioned to break through the existing barriers and create greater market opportunities as multinationals reconstruct the supply chain for EVs.
Does Taiwan have the advantage in creating self-driving cars? Three conditions are indispensable!
Looking at the progress being made by Taiwan’s automakers vis-à-vis its foreign rivals when it comes to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and self-driving systems, Mindtronic AI Co. Ltd, which has already garnered the CES New Innovation Award three times for its intelligent cockpit solutions, is a start-up company in the island’s smart car sector with growth potential in the international arena.
Mike Huang, Mindtronic’s Chief Technology Officer, said that there are three key conditions that need to be fully met in order for Taiwan to become a self-driving technology powerhouse, which are marketing, funding, and the possibility of commercialization.
Firstly, as the R&D of self-driving cars often needs tens of billions of dollars in investment, it is necessary to have a sufficient number of investors and the associated funds in place. Secondly, since countries have their different development policies and norms for self-driving cars in various stages from R&D to launch, it is necessary to have sufficient support from the domestic market. Thirdly, in order to truly achieve a software-defined vehicle (SDV), it is necessary to have sufficient market support. Finally, to truly enable SDV, one needs a complete software development environment.
Huang believes that Taiwan’s advantage in the era of self-driving cars is talent. Despite the challenges, Taiwan’s small but solid industrial environment is well-positioned to deliver highly concentrated resources for IP start-ups.
What value lies in store for the car of tomorrow? Mike Huang: A personalized driving experience is the key!
The most important question to ask when thinking about the nature of smart cars and self-driving cars is “Why does a person need to buy a self-driving car?” and “What do consumers really want?”
If we want to provide smooth consumer experience in the mobility service industry, it is more important to think about how to deliver an experience beyond cell phones to users.
For example, the 3D AR HUD (Head-Up Display with Stereoscopic Augmented Reality) technology developed by Mindtronic can project navigation routes directly onto the road ahead rather than on the windshield. The AR technology superimposes virtual objects on the real road to create an integrated virtual-reality experience and an innovative driver experience.
Huang points out that a good user experience comes from the AI setting up exactly what the driver wants. It may be about the state of the driver, the positioning of the seat, and the focus of the driver’s eyes. With such multiple and complex relationships, there is no way to collect such a huge trove of user information at once and create a personalized model that is applicable to everyone.
AI creates an intelligent driving experience, and knowledge intensive products show the value of software
Mindtronic is now developing a tour-guide robot that will automatically describe the features of a place of interest when the car’s AI determines that the driver is particularly interested in it, transforming the meaning and the experience of the classic road trip.
Such data and information have great commercial value. Huang believes that the value of the car of tomorrow lies not in how much horsepower the vehicle has or the specifications of the hardware components, but in whether the user feels a new and intelligent experience the moment he or she gets seated behind the wheel.
Mindtronic looks forward to forming an industrial ecosystem with more name brands, to leverage the innovative capacities of small companies and the abundant resources of large ones to complement each other. In addition, Mindtronic is also actively connecting to Taiwan’s AI ecosystem horizontally by joining the AI on Chip Industrial Cooperation Strategic Alliance established by the Smart Electronics Industry Project Promotion Office (SIPO) of the Industrial Development Bureau.
Through the alliance, Mindtronic will help connect upstream and downstream partners on the industry chain to create business opportunities and encourage more of the island’s manufacturers to invest in the AI on Chip sector, to enable the whole of Taiwan’s AI industry to demonstrate its competitiveness in the global market.