In 2010, SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGWM) established the Baojun brand to focus on building a passenger vehicle brand suitable for the emerging markets all over the world. In Apr. 2019, New Baojun, its all-new self-owned brand, was officially launched, with the adoption of a brand-new logo called “Diamond Badge”. At that time, New Baojun announced that “Young, Connected, High-tech & Intelligent” would be its brand’s DNA.
For SGMW, the New Baojun is not simply a new version of Baojun, but rather a new brand, in the kernel of which lie the key words "Intelligence" and "Connectivity".
On Jul. 11, the RC-6 and the RM-5, two new models under the New Baojun brand, successfully rolled off the production line at Baojun Base of SGMW, marking that SGMW has thus achieved a new record cumulative production and sales volume of 20.25 million units.
On Jul. 12, during the “Create a New Mobility Life” Summit Forum and offline experience event, New Baojun elaborated its overall planning and arrangement in the fields like IoV and autonomous driving:
One the one hand, the two new vehicle models are equipped with the Qing AI 2.0 system jointly released with PATEO, which connects the user's mobile phone and IVI through the PATEO OS cloud, to allow the mobile phone to replace the traditional IVI system;
On the other hand, the L2 autonomous driving assistance system are relatively mature at the current stage. New Baojun has cooperated with Bosch to jointly build the L2.5 autonomous driving assistance system, which is equipped on its own products.
New Baojun has also set its own goal on the L4 autonomous driving technology, while performing tests on the four-in-one road jointly built by SGMW, Huawei, China Mobile, UISEE Technology and the Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR) for testing intelligent connected vehicles (driverless cars) in public. Among them, the self-driving vehicle developed on the basis of the E200 EV has already been verified and tested in a truly open environment in a public neighborhood of Liuzhou, which represents the first case among domestic auto enterprises.
It took only three months from the new brand being launched to the second and third products rolling off the production line. Such a rapid iteration is inseparable from SGMW’s accurate grasp of the future trend and the consumer market.
In the meantime, it is known to the whole industry that the CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Electric Vehicles) will become a main trend in the future. Then, from what SGMW is doing – launching New Baojun and deploying the intelligent connectivity ecosystem around it – we can also see that traditional auto enterprises are going with the flow amid the tide of the times.
Changes in DNA
In 2013, SGMW achieved a production and sales volume of over 10 million units; in 2019, this number has increased to 20.25 million. What’s more, relevant data shows that the repurchase rate of Wuling and Baojun users is as high as 68%, which is not inferior at all when compared with the top luxury brands in the world.
In six years, the growth of over 10 million and the repurchase rate of up to 68% are attributed to the fact that SGMW has been keeping pace with market changes to quicken up the R&D and iteration of passenger vehicle products. The launch of the New Baojun brand is also a result of this.
First of all, over the past few years, the traditional passenger vehicle market keeps growing on the one hand, and on the other hand, the government's subsidies for the NEV sector has stimulated the development of the market.
Therefore, SGMW has successively launched Baojun 310, Baojun 510, Baojun 360, Baojun 530 and other competitive models in the traditional vehicle sector, as well as two innovative products, Baojun E100 and Baojun E200, in the NEV sector, thus opened up the new segment market of “the second car for a family”.
Secondly, CASE will surely become one of the main trends in the future. At present, not only vehicle manufacturers are actively deploying ICVs and autonomous vehicles, but BATH (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei) and other technology companies are also aggressively marching into the automotive industry on basis of their own accumulation of high and new technologies, which is nothing short of a tremendous impact on traditional auto companies. The same is true for SGMW.
Furthermore, in recent years, with the younger generations (such as the post-90s/-95s) gradually rising to be the main force of consumption, various automakers have turned to the road of rejuvenation, and SGMW is of course no exception.
As such, it is not difficult to see the reason why New Baojun takes “Young, Technology, Intelligent & Connected” as its brand DNA. After all, the times are changing. Should you want to survive, you must change with the times.
A Unique IoV
Previously, at the launch event of the New Baojun brand, Xue Haitao, GM of SGMW Sales Company, said that intelligent connectivity is the most differentiated brand DNA that sets New Baojun apart from other brands and products. As Ken, Founder and Chairman of PATEO, sees it, the New Baojun is not a new version of Baojun, but rather a new brand.
In this Jun., New Baojun joined PATEO in releasing the PATEO Qing Mobile IVI system for New Baojun. At the sub-summit themed “Create a New Mobility Life”, PATEO announced that this system had been officially upgraded to Qing AI 2.0. It is said that the new products of Baojun will be equipped with the system.
Ken (Yilun) Ying, Founder & Chairman of PATEO Group
It is reported that the Qing Mobile IoV system, by installing the PATEO OS cloud on the user’s mobile phone, allows the user’s mobile phone to connect with the vehicle. What is different from such cell phone mapping systems as the Apple CarPlay is that this system is able to install the entire mobile phone application ecosystem that the user is accustomed to on the vehicle, including WeChat, map navigation and video software. This means that the internet application ecosystem that the user installs on the vehicle no longer has to be separated from the mobile phone application ecosystem that the user is accustomed to. Besides, another advantage of the Qing Mobile lies in the removal of IVI hardware, but instead the computing power of the mobile phone is used to control the whole IVI system.
As the whole industry knows, hardware iteration is one of the most important factors that hinder the development of the IoV at present. The automotive R&D cycle is generally 3-4 years. When a vehicle model is launched, its hardware is already two generations behind.
Relatively speaking, the mobile phone development cycle is about 9 months, while the user replaces their smartphones at a higher frequency, usually around 1 year, which means that the demand of the mobile phone industry for the hardware computing power is continuously increasing, and the computing power of mobile phones is therefore also constantly growing.
According to the performance test performed by PATEO, the chip of a mainstream mobile phone is 20 times faster than that of a mainstream IVI, meaning that the solution whereby the IVI is replaced by the mobile phone can greatly improve the speed and smoothness of the IVI system.
Based on the first-generation Qing Mobile IoV, the Qing AI 2.0 was born.
According to Ken, the Qing AI 2.0 is the first product in history that is able to communicate with voice like a human being, boasting a speed 20 times faster than that of the connected luxury cars and completely surpassing that of the smartphone experience. It can be said that owing to it, the ultimate IoV experience delivered by New Baojun is able to seckill that of many luxury brand models on the market.
It is well known in the industry that in terms of voice control, there are six major problems with the current IVI system, i.e., being overly polite, being mechanical, being dilatory, being retarded, requiring shouting and bad hearing.
To address these problems, Qing AI 2.0 is optimized, so that it is able to support the global wake-up free feature and at-will interruption in main interaction scenarios; meet the fast and lengthy voice content input by the user; remember and quickly match frequent contacts; complete multiple-step input during one round of interaction; pick up soft sound and surpass the human ear in noisy environments, etc.
On the site, Ken demonstrated the Qing AI 2.0 system features, including fast recognition, recognition in high noise environments, fast content / command input via voice, and sending WeChat messages to contacts, which perfectly showcased the powerful and responsive speech recognition capability of the system.
He said on the site that in real-life applications, the system is able to complete voice navigation 19 times in 54 seconds, while some luxury car brand can only complete navigation one time in 56 seconds, which means that the Qing AI 2.0 system offers an experience that is nearly 20 times faster than that of the luxury car and surpasses that of the smartphone.
Based on this, we can see that in terms of the IoV, the Qing AI 2.0 system demonstrates many unique advantages, e.g., zero learning cost, perfect personal experience, online 24 hours a day and real-time update. In other words, New Baojun has integrated the mobile phone App, the in-vehicle system, and interconnected screen mirroring into one, fully reproduced the experience and usage habits of the mobile phone through the simplest operation and the lowest cost, and thus easily opened the smart life on wheels with 24 hour online access. After being equipped with this system, New Baojun products will be in their element. While other vehicle companies and brands are still concerned about IVI iteration, New Baojun is already able to stand at the forefront by virtue of this system.
Moreover, at this summit forum, the New Baojun brand also announced that it has started mobile phone-based IoV test for 5G mobile phones. As we all know, it will not be long before the first domestic 5G mobile phone is launched, which means that the first 5G connected car is upcoming.
Autonomous Driving of New Baojun
Nowadays, in addition to the intelligent IVI system, the autonomous driving assistance system is a must-have in an intelligent vehicle.
New Baojun products are equipped with the L2.5 autonomous driving system solution co-built with Bosch, which was presented by Bosch at this forum.
Firstly, on the perceptual level, the solution mainly uses radar + camera data integration to provide a redundancy solution and ensure more accurate road feature recognition. Specifically, the third-generation multi-functional / stereo camera, the fifth-generation millimeter-wave radar, and the sixth-generation ultrasound sensor are mainly employed, while such technologies as texture recognition and Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) are applied to process the collected data.
Secondly, in terms of positioning, the system solution provides precision positioning for the vehicle through VMPS (Vehicle Motion and Position Sensor) – an intelligent sensor based on the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) together with HD maps.
Thirdly, at the implementation level, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) + iBooster (a brake-by-wire system) are mainly used as the main and auxiliary brake actuators to provide responsive and reliable brake redundancy.
Among them, the second-generation iBooster independently developed by Bosch adopts modularized design to meet multi-platform performance requirements and achieve mass production. Meanwhile, it is also able to support pedal feel adjustment through software, high dynamic pressure build-up, braking distance reduction and other features, thereby improving safety.
Based on this system, the New Baojun products are able to intelligently respond to the four practical driving scenarios: full speed range cruise control, speed limit alert, safe night driving and intelligent safety protection, offer 14 powerful features, including stop-and-go adaptive cruise control (ACC), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Collision Mitigation System (CMS) and Traffic Sign Assist (TSA), and build an intelligent safety protection circle.
Of course, New Baojun is not satisfied with the L2.5 auto driving assistance system, it also targets the L4 self-driving car. As a matter fact, as early as 2016, Baojun invested a considerable amount of efforts and financial resources in the in-depth R&D of this forward-looking technology.
In Nov. 2018, SGMW worked in collaboration with UISEE Technology to deliver the AVP to the user for the first time in the industry.
Reportedly, the unmanned vehicle solution equipped on the Baojun E200 is jointly built with UISEE Technology, which is mainly based on the low-cost camera-based visual technology, with a camera installed on each of the front, rear, left and right sides of the vehicle to achieve visual positioning. In the meantime, a millimeter-wave radar is installed in the front, which mainly enables the obstacle avoidance feature.
And, another test vehicle employs the autonomous driving solution – a multi-sensor solution based on LiDAR + positioning using inertial navigation system (INS) – developed in cooperation with iMotion.
However, apart from autonomous driving, what’s more noteworthy is the vehicle infrastructure system for the driverless cars during traveling.
As mentioned above, SGMW has teamed up with Huawei, China Mobile, UISEE Technology and the Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR) in co-building a four-in-one road for testing intelligent connected vehicles (driverless cars) in public.
At present, the road, installed with nine 5G base stations, is able to realize 5G-based long-distance driving within the coverage area, and is opened to the public for experience. At the same time, more than ten scenarios have also been planned, including one-button vehicle calling, abnormal vehicle reminder, signal light information push, and speed-up section for self-driving cars.
For example, roadside units (RSU) and cameras have been installed on both sides of the road. If an accident happens on the road ahead, the cameras will capture the accident-related signals and push them to the unmanned vehicle for reminders, so that the driver can predict the road conditions in advance and avoid the same accident.
According to the staff, in the future outlook of New Baojun, (the vehicle) should be able to see beyond the visual range, so as to tell the driver what has happened ahead.
As for the specific application, the staff said that the unmanned logistics vehicles have fully realized unmanned operation at the Baojun Base, and in the future, its main application scenarios will cover industrial parks, transportation and related logistics.
The Future of New Baojun: An Integrated Service Provider of Smart Mobility
At present, both the IoV and the autonomous driving technologies are still in their infancy. However, based on its existing technology accumulation, New Baojun has already worked out in detail its own development plan from now to 2023.
By 2023, New Baojun will have leaped from the 1.0 era to the 5.0 era; from auto driving assistance system to fully autonomous driving on the highway and L4 autonomous driving in specific areas, in addition to creating an intelligent transportation system in the Smart City to realize V2X.
At the same time, New Baojun also hopes to grasp user pain points and dig into user scenarios during this period of time, so as to work with advantageous TSPs to develop all-new intelligent connected products and services, and thus become a leading integrated mobility product & service provider.
Besides, it is worth mentioning that with the development of 5G technology and the unfolding of autonomous vehicle test, New Baojun has already built its own vehicle big data platform, namely, the SGMW New Baojun Vehicle Big Data Platform.
It is reported that the platform is able to connect cloud, vehicle and people to realize real-time collection, processing, storage and analysis of vehicle usage data, and support the data storage and processing needs for millions of vehicles, including user profile, precision marketing, quality feedback and scenario mining.
As an all-new brand, New Baojun has its intelligent connectivity DNA deeply rooted in the brand ever since the very first day when it was born, while the successive launch of new products will further strengthen the foundation of the New Baojun brand, and boost the transformation and upgrade of SGMW.