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How Does This Self-driving Company Triple Its Income over a Year Without Burning Money? — Part 3

Two “Pillars”

The first one is the unmanned sanitation vehicle, a representative scene of smart life. Woxiaobai, a self-driving sweeper launched by Idriverplus, has been installed by thousands, which can engage in road cleaning, watering, garbage collection, and other work in more than 20 provinces.

In addition, Idriverplus has also deployed unmanned patrol cars and won orders for more than 100 units. In China, this is the first over-100-unit order in this scene. The company has also played a role in Covid-19 by disinfecting operations in hospitals.

As for another pillar, namely unmanned special vehicles, the company has captured 70% of the market share. However, it would be no easy to develop unmanned special vehicles.

On the one hand, special vehicles are demanding technically. Compared with standard ones, special vehicles need to adapt to a wider range of temperature differences and avoid electromagnetic interference. Different from civilian vehicles, they have to pass through puddles and ditches, climb mountains to recognize three-dimensional scenes. These places cannot have established highly precise maps and can only rely on the vehicle’s own perception to make judgments and plan routes. There is also a special point for special vehicles. In case of being hijacked, they also need to have autonomous intelligence to conduct self-destruction. All of these make algorithm R&D exponentially more challenging.

On the other hand, special vehicles require high enterprise qualifications and have certain thresholds in the fields of information security, data security, and network security. And Idriverplus has all the necessary qualifications and has been focusing on domestic market.

So far, it has created sanitation vehicles and unmanned special vehicles. But its goal is to build up a diverse business model. To this end, Robotaxi in smart transport is an important application scene.

On December 21, 2021 , Idriverplus and T3go signed a strategic cooperation agreement. The two leaders in the sector jointly explored the new implementation model of Robotaxi, and Idriverplus would officially deliver the first batch of Robotaxi to T3go. It is reported that this order includes over 100 units, and it is also the largest single Robotaxi order won by a Chinese autonomous driving manufacturer.

In the cooperation, the two parties launched a new model: “autonomous driving plus normal driving”. It means, automatic driving is adopted in the designated test area, and the safety officer takes over the driving in areas beyond that.

This model breaks through the difficulties and pain points of Robotaxi application, which is not only conducive to a larger-scale application, but also provides more and richer data for unmanned driving enterprises and feeds back the autonomous driving algorithms.

2021 found itself a year of good harvest in the commercialization of Idriverplus, with the company’s revenue tripling from the previous year and the value of the autonomous driving brain emerging.

Autonomous Driving is a Marathon

As an analogy, Idriverplus has been trying to promote its cars from a low level to a higher one. Then some of its counterparts who have been in a high dimension went the other way over the past two years.

Focusing on urban scenes, Weride has launched the minibus Robobus for people and the self-driving local freight vehicle RoboVan for goods. While has launched a self-driving light truck ( Roboruck ), which originates from the intra-city freight on urban roads, focuses on railway logistics scenes and developed a self-driving heavy truck ( Robotruck ). Baidu launched the unmanned minibus “Apollo” and manufactured it on its own.

As the result, autonomous driving presents a state of chaos, and the sense of boundaries becomes increasingly blurred.

“So far, no scene has witnessed an explosive number of unmanned driving vehicles. But all players in this field long for commercialization and obtain data. Infiltrating into the business areas targeted by each other has thus become one of the means for everyone to achieve their goals.” Zhang said.

High-quality Labeled Data is the Key to the Autonomous Driving

Previously, the media reported that a user had a car accident while riding in a smart driving vehicle. After the investigation, it was discovered that the smart driving system failed to distinguish the difference between the white vehicle and the cloud and did not identify obstacles. The vehicle failed to brake in time, which in turn triggered tragic consequences.

In this case, the lack of accurate data on the distinction between white vehicles and the cloud is the direct factor leading to the tragedy.

Therefore, the measures to provide high-quality AI data for different scenarios and different needs have gradually become the consensus of artificial intelligence solutions


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