Human-Vehicle Relations & Digital Transformation of carmakers

Source:Global DBA (Asia Track)Date:2019-06-21

On May 22nd, the Smart Mobility Forum of Tencent Global Digital Ecosystem Conference 2019 was held in Kunming. In the new era of mobility, how to develop the ecosystem? How will the digital transformation of the automotive industry evolve? And what new changes will be brought in the relations between human and vehicles? With these questions, the 2nd Tencent Auto Think Tank invited a number of experts and scholars from carmakers, Internet companies, universities and consulting firms to explore the trends of “eco connected vehicles” and discuss how industry partners may jointly drive digital transformation.

During the 1st Salon, Tencent and industry think tanks discussed the changes in the relations between human and vehicles in the era of connected vehicles. With the widespread digital transformation of the automotive industry, the focus of service-centered transition is also shifting to the human-vehicle relations. Based on its technical and ecological advantages in content and AI capabilities, Tencent has taken the lead in proposing the solution of “eco connected vehicles”, improving the capabilities of “scenario-based services” and in turn achieving the goal of“customized and personalized services”.

Hosted by Mr.Zhou Ping (Advisor of TENCENT), CMO of emlyon Global DBA 2018 Intake, this event continued the key topic on the changes in human-vehicle relations and invited Mr.Li Fengjun, Vice President of FAW Group General R&D Institute and Deputy Director of Intelligent Connected Vehicle Development Institute, Mr.Ma Jun, Professor of the School of Automotive Studies and the College of Design and Innovation of Tongji University, Mr.Fan Haoyu, Vice President of Intelligence and Systems of CHJ Automotive, Mr.Zhou Lingkun, Principal of Deloitte Automotive Industry Management Consulting,  and Mr.Zhong Xuedan, Zhou Lingkun and Zhong Xuedan, Vice President of Tencent Auto Intelligence. Along with media and industry practitioners, the panelists shared their insights and practical experience in the domain.

Shaping Eco Connected Vehicles

According to the statistics of China Automobile Association, the sales in 2018 declined for the first time since 1990. The bottlenecks of growth and profitability have begun to plague all industry players. More and more carmakers have decided to accelerate their pace of digital transformation.

As a representative of an automotive startup, Fan Haoyu from CHJ Auto started with the readiness, determination and action of digitalization. As to the reason why it chose to partner with Tencent in eco connected vehicles, he explained that on the one hand, Tencent is open to embrace the industrial Internet, the automotive industry and the next-generation intelligent ecosystem. On the other hand, in the process of digital transformation, Tencent will also bring a wide range of industrial resources to support users.

Mr. Fan Haoyu

Vice President

Intelligence and Systems of CHJ Automotive

FAW Group, one of the traditional industry leaders, also attaches great importance to connected vehicles and smart mobility. According to Li Fengjun, Deputy Director of the Intelligent Connected Vehicle Development Institute, FAW Group has set up dedicated intelligent connected vehicle research institute and mobile mobility unit, while investing plenty of resources. There are four distinct trends in the segment:

  • Accelerated expansion of driverless vehicles.
  • A car becomes the 3rd mobile space, cool and amazing, while intelligence is considered the core competency.
  • The upcoming 5G will reveal an unlimited future.
  • All carmakers are deploying their own mobile mobility blueprint, which is supported by the first three trends, to provide ultimate experience of vehicles and mobility.

FAW and Tencent are currently building a converged cloud platform, in addition to certain collaboration in driverless simulation, in order to prepare for the future development of connected vehicles and smart mobility. Li Fengjun pointed out that intelligent, enriched and experiential connected vehicles will definitely make due contributions to the pleasant lifestyle and mobility of consumers.

Mr.Li Fengjun

Vice President,FAW Group General R&D Institute

Middle-Office Thinking is Crucial.Both panelists mentioned the construction of eco connected vehicles. Furthermore, the human-vehicle relations in the intelligent era was one of the key topics in the 1st Tencent Auto Think Tank Salon, on which Zhou Lingkun, Principal of Deloitte Automotive Industry Management Consulting, who participated in the event, had more insights to share.

Mr.Zhou Lingkun

Principal of Deloitte Automotive Industry Management Consulting

In his view, during the transition, it is essential to build up a digital ecosystem by collaborating with intelligent network, upstream and downstream partners, operational content providers and fundamental service providers, which will greatly drive the digitalization pace of car makers. Meanwhile, he also stressed that the three-step strategy of post-construction digitalization is critical.

  • How to realize digital experience. The value of digital transformation resides in the value brought to users.
  • The iteration of digital R&D, ranging from toolkits to systems.
  • How to deliver finished products to users in an efficient and cost-effective way, through intelligent manufacturing.

Mr. Zhou stated that digital transformation calls for middle-office thinking. "With the support of technologies and the empowerment of the ecosystem, the intelligent capabilities derived from big data and back office will bring users the service experience better than you can imagine. It brings services in different detailed scenarios, such as personalized playlist and coffee recommendations in line with user preferences. In the future, the ultimate experience stemmed from digital transformation should be emotional."

Upgraded Norms of Human-Vehicle Relations

What about users? Prof. Ma Jun from Tongji University gave the audience some inspiration from the perspective of users.

Professor.Ma Jun

Tongji University

In the 5G era, the evolution of the automotive industry involves not only technologies, but also the relations between human and vehicles. For him, if the entire automobile industry is regarded as a product, it should be both rational and emotional. "A vehicle should be a carrier of pleasure, which makes a trip more joyful." In this way, Prof. Ma expected that in the future, “a rating or index system will be introduced, known as ‘Human-Vehicle Relations’. Both carmakers and Internet companies shall take part in the exploration of human-vehicle relations and jointly establish the measures, in order to deliver scenario-based design for users."

Li Fengjun also noted that FAW's product design makes every effort to take account in user experience and needs. For example, in the design of a smart cockpit, the designers investigate the ultimate thinking and personal experience in each of five senses, namely seeing, listening, smelling, feeling and knowing.

Making Full Use of Tencent’s Experience and Strength in User Services To Drive Ecosystem Evolution

The new era of eco connected vehicles serves all industry players and users. Tencent's solution shows an open and supportive mindset to the industry at large, which advocates joint ecosystem construction and a win-win value chain. The key goal is to help its partners to better serve their shared consumers.

Zhong Xuedan, Vice President of Tencent Auto Intelligence, expressed, “To be an implementer of technology, the greatest challenge is not to realize certain technologies and incorporate them into the vehicles. The greatest challenge is how to make sure our vehicles are really accepted and bought by consumers. This is what we should work on. Therefore, we are eager to create eco connected vehicles in a prosperous environment so that we can truly empower the vehicles. We expect that the products sell well and are widely accepted by users."

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Mr. Zhouping: Mobility is now one of the most popular keywords in the automotive industry. Over the years, major carmakers around the world have announced their strategic and digital transformation towards mobility service providers. Although research findings emphasize the importance of big data and AI behind ultimate mobility experience, the industry seems to ignore the strong correlation between social relationship and mobility. At the recent Tencent Global Ecology Conference held in Kunming, the industry and academia collided for this new topic for the first time at the second session of Tencent Auto Think Tank Salon, chaired by Zhou Fang, CMO of emlyon Global DBA 2018. If all mobility activities are socially embedded, Tencent, the world's largest social network driver with 1.1 billion monthly active WeChat subscribers and 800 million monthly active QQ subscribers, will become the most important mobility enabler. Why do people travel? It is always driven by social relationship instead of navigation or payment. Before you travel, you may share your destination with your friends. During the trip, you may want to pick up your colleagues. You arrive at your destination to dine with your customers. However, in addition to the interaction with your social network and thus the service experience, the motivation for mobility is often social. Therefore, the academic community may further explore the scenarios and experience that WeChat, the key to the Chinese social relationship chain, will empower Mobility, which will become a unique highlight of the digital transformation of China's automotive industry.