Autonomous vehicles in China

AI in China’s transportation industry: shaping the future of transportation | Daxue Consulting

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In the era of artificial intelligence, the value associated with automobiles is being redefined. The human-like decision-making process by AI technology in transportation connects people, cars, and roads, leading to smart, ecologic driving. AI in China’s transportation industry dramatically changes the course of history in the field of transport not only in China but all over the world.

Computing power and high-value data are the core strengths of the multi-dimensional transportation industry. AI in China’s transportation industry uses such as self-driving cars, computer vision security at metro stations, and “Urban brain” traffic analysis, leads transportation towards an intelligent era.

The negative effects of transportation such as accidents, congestion, pollution, etc. require new technologies to improve the industry to a safer, more comfortable, and environmentally friendly level.

Applications of AI in China’s transportation industry

Intelligent transportation is the future of transportation, which is becoming a reality thanks to AI technology. Intelligent transportation is the integration of advanced information technology, data communication transmission technology, electronic sensing technology, control technology, and computer technology into the entire traffic management system. Applications of AI in China’s transportation industry goes beyond individual vehicles to include city-wide and possibly nation-wide interconnectivity.

Computer vision replaces manual security checks metro stations

Security checks are an important daily part of Chinese subways and trains. However, a human normally has to man the traditional security check system. The efficiency and accuracy of the check-in are vulnerable to human error.

AI in China’s transportation industry
[Source: Zhang Kaiyv “Chinese subway. AI in China’s transportation industry”]

To maintain constant efficiency and the accuracy, Guangzhou implemented AI in their public transport, “smart security” at three metro stations. After the users register the face scan through their mobile phone app, they can quickly pass the device security check-in system by scanning their face or the QR code in less than 2 seconds.

Facial recognition – ticket-free train station  experimentations in Guangzhou

In Shanghai, the railway station officially launched the real-name verification system supported by AI face recognition technology. Passengers holding the second-generation ID card can scan their face into the train station. When the passenger approaches the machine, it will automatically compare the passengers’ information with the photo on the ID card. Once the information all matched, the gate will open, and the passenger could enter the station. Imperceptibly for Chinese people, AI in public transport fits well into a bustling daily life.

“Urban brain” of traffic analysis

By analyzing the urban traffic data and observing the real-time traffic conditions through the CCTV system, the “Urban brain” could optimize the traffic signal timing.

In big cities, the traffic condition could be complex with millions of people and cars. In contrast to human’s judgment, AI is based on big data, AI technology in transportation could be much more accurate with less error rate by optimizing the algorithm.

Huawei provides the intelligence transportation solution “TrafficGo” as leading innovation to improve the efficiency of the traffic in a certain area. For now, Huawei has piloted at Bantian, Shenzhen, “the delay of cooperative optimization vehicles in multi-junction areas has significantly decreased, surpassing the manual control level”; and at Shangdi, Beijing, “the average delay in the main direction of Shangdi’s third street decreased by 25.2%, which led to the average delay of surrounding roads decreased by 10-20%” as stated on the “TrafficGo” official website.

AI uses in the transportation industry:Driverless vehicles

Apart from the computer vision security check system, entrance without a ticket, and “urban brain,”  one of AIs most notable applications in transportation is self-driving cars in China.

In October of 2018, the Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Miao Wei, said at the World Autonomous Vehicles Conference, “China is promoting the development of autonomous vehicles. By 2020, the Chinese autonomous vehicles market is expected to reach 100 billion RMB”. 

Companies engaged in self-driving cars in China

At present, the automatic assisted parking technology is relatively mature, and the application of AI technology in transportation is more and more popular. AI technology has entered the transportation industry from different perspectives.

Daxue Consulting has organized the major companies in the AI in China’s transportation industry chain.

AI uses in the transportation industry
[Source: Daxue Consulting “Autonomous AI companies”]

The intelligent transportation system in smart cities in China

Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen are the first cities to pilot self-driving vehicles in China. Municipal Transportation Commission of Guangzhou made it clear that it supports and encourages self-driving vehicles.

As one of the earliest self-driving car pilot companies approved by the Municipal Transportation Commission of Guangzhou, Weride successively picked up more than 3,000 passengers and has commuted a total distance exceeding 70,000 kilometers.

Smart transportation in China: Driverless vehicles applications

At present, the application of artificial intelligence in the field of autonomous vehicles includes mostly self-driving trucks and self-driving shared vehicles.

Self-driving vehicles in logistics

In the field of logistics, autonomous vehicles can be applied to long-distance trucking and in-city delivery trucking. Driverless technology could reduce the number of accidents caused by human and saving overall costs.  Suning and Jingdong announced that they had tested their L4-class unmanned heavy trucks in China and Silicon Valley.

The implementation of unmanned trucks mainly reduces risk in blind driving areas, poor maneuverability, and poor stability. The above problems could be solved by artificial intelligence multi-sensor on-line calibration, multi-sensor fusion, remote sensing, refined modeling & control, and multi-objective optimization decisions. Once the self-driving trucks are commercialized, they would reduce energy consumption, reduce workforce costs, and reduce the error rate caused by human drivers.

Self-driving cars in China
[Source: Carlos Daniel “Truck factory”]

Shared self-driving cars in China

Shared self-driving cars in China are one of the most useful future applications of AI. For now, the using rate of private cars in China is only 5%, and the young generation prefers sharing cars/taxis. The concept of smart transportation in China grouped self-driving cars is in accordance with the trends.

Human driving has many problems, such as the high cost, lack of parking spaces, safety risks, etc. But shared self-driving cars, users could book through the application, and the nearby vehicle would come. Once the passenger finishes using the vehicle, it could automatically return to the nearby fixed parking.

Even though current AI technology in transportation is not mature enough, within the development of artificial intelligence technologies, the formulation of regulations, AI  uses in the transportation industry will be more and more popularized.

Author: Ziqi MIAO


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