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Xiaomi’s car-making forecast: Deploy autonomous driving and create a multi-mode interactive smart cockpit

The boom of Internet companies to build cars is coming! Following Xiaomi’s announcement to build a car, Didi also started a car-building project. Internet companies building cars seem to give people the illusion that “the threshold is getting lower and lower, and they can quickly enter the market”. As Xiaomi with strong supply chain integration capabilities, it has applied for many patents on smart cockpits, and has invested in many smart car companies such as Xiaopeng, Weilai, and Zhixingzhi Technology.

Today (April 6th) is the 11th anniversary of Xiaomi’s establishment, and it is also the rice noodle festival where Xiaomi thank its fans once a year. Lei Jun, founder of Xiaomi, chairman and CEO of Xiaomi Group, reiterated the theme of “Why build a car?” in the internal staff meeting, which further strengthened the dream of building a car of 10 billion yuan.

Just a week ago at the Xiaomi conference, Lei Jun announced that he would establish a wholly-owned subsidiary to be responsible for the smart electric vehicle business, with an initial investment of 10 billion yuan and a total investment of 10 billion US dollars in the next 10 years. electric car”.

Lei Jun even choked up at the press conference and said, “I am willing to overwhelm all the reputation of my life, go into battle again, and fight for Xiaomi cars.” Rebs, who is over fifty years old and has already made a name for himself, is willing to take huge risks to start a business from scratch and build a car, which is really admirable. But apart from feelings, we would like to rationally analyze what kind of car Xiaomi can build according to the resources accumulated at this stage.

1. The technology of the three electric systems is similar, and the Electronic control design space of the whole vehicle is large

First of all, the core of building a new energy vehicle is the three-electric system, power battery, drive motor, and vehicle electronic control. At present, in the new energy vehicle power battery market, lithium iron phosphate batteries and ternary lithium are divided into two parts. The application ratio of lithium titanate and lithium manganate is not high, so the power battery is nothing more than a choice between CATL and BYD.

There are basically three mainstream motor drive methods, AC asynchronous motor, permanent magnet synchronous motor and a combination of the two. From the perspective of selection tendency, permanent magnet synchronous motors are more mainstream. Many models such as Xiaopeng G3 and BYD Yuan use this motor, while some sports versions of NIO ES6 use two types of motors. For domestic car companies, permanent magnet synchronous motors have more resource advantages, and the security of the supply chain is guaranteed.

The vehicle controller is the integration of the three electric links, chassis driving functions and braking functions of electric vehicles, which is completely different from the driving control functions and braking control functions of traditional vehicles. A must pass. In terms of controllers, Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital invested in Oyix a long time ago. The latter is an automotive electronic control company with a huge customer base of OEMs. It is one of the few domestic companies that masters a variety of new energy sources Electronic control technology company.

In the three-electrical system, the largest space may be the three-electrical integration technology. It is the basis for new energy vehicles to meet the performance requirements of acceleration, climbing, battery life, and charging time. Among them, the design of the battery cell and the design of the battery management system will greatly affect the performance of a vehicle.

In addition, advanced and complete powertrain design concepts, including battery layout, thermal management design and wiring, and power system module integration, will make the system more efficient and the control logic of the motor smoother, so as to achieve a Basic threshold for electric vehicles.

2. Multi-mode interaction, futuristic smart cockpit

From the automotive patents that Xiaomi has obtained, they mainly focus on three aspects: smart cockpit, driving safety and hardware. In the core areas of smart cars such as the three-electric system and unmanned driving, there is not too much technology accumulation, which also means that Xiaomi needs more ecological integration in automobile manufacturing.

Xiaomi’s car building is by no means “crossing the river by feeling the stones”. Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital has invested in two new energy car companies, Weilai and Xiaopeng, to achieve interoperability with the smart cars of the two car companies through Xiaomi mobile phones. In the scenario of vehicle interconnection In the direction of exploration and application, a lot of cooperation has been reached. Xiaomi wants to build a car, and the two experienced new car-making forces will also provide Xiaomi with a lot of resources and experience.

Smart cockpit technology is a function of direct contact with users and an important function to establish recognition with other car categories. Xiaomi’s smart cockpit patents cover a variety of patents related to intelligent interaction, such as car audio, navigation, and augmented reality. This should be the strong technology of Xiaomi’s car-making, and it is also the most anticipated place.

At the Xiaomi conference, Xiaomi engineers spent 3 months designing a car with a full set of smart home for Mi Fan. The interior of the RV is full of Xiaomi’s smart home products, all of which can be controlled by mobile phones. Xiaomi has a very complete intelligent ecology in the industry, and has the ability to assemble a smart cockpit with multi-modal interaction such as voice and input, which can realize more interactive integration between passengers in the car, the vehicle, and the external traffic environment.

3. Autonomous driving is a must for Xiaomi to build a car

Autonomous driving technology is a “threshold” that new cars cannot bypass, and it represents the development direction of smart cars in the future. As early as 2013, Lei Jun visited Musk twice and showed a lot of interest in smart cars. Afterwards, Xiaomi and Lei Jun started a series of investments in smart cars. The car-building level includes NIO and Xpeng Motors, two new car-making forces for young users; the Internet of Vehicles investments include PATEO and Kay Rucker; autonomous driving Levels such as Zhixing Technology and so on.

Therefore, at this stage, Xiaomi’s car manufacturing not only needs to build a car that meets the needs of current users, but also requires more forward-looking planning and chooses a more advanced autonomous driving sensor solution for the future layout. Xiaomi’s first car may not necessarily go straight to fully autonomous driving like Apple’s, but it will inevitably choose a promising technical route to continuously enrich and improve autonomous driving capabilities through OTA.

Whether learning from Tesla and Apple, or investing in Xiaopeng and Weilai, you can see that Lei Jun is optimistic about the prospects of autonomous driving technology. To build a smart car, you must find a “brain” that is constantly learning. In Xiaomi’s investment territory, there are several leading players in autonomous driving, and they already have sufficient say in the autonomous driving technology path of mass-produced models.

Beijing Zhixingzhe Technology Co., Ltd., established in 2015, received RMB 100 million in financing from well-known domestic and foreign institutions such as Shunwei Capital in the A round in 2017. They focus on the research and development of the “brain” of driverless cars, and are committed to becoming a multi-purpose scene. L4 solution provider.

Zhixer Technology has established a development path that starts from L4 low-speed scenarios such as sanitation, logistics, and parks, and gradually expands to security, retail, special applications and other scenarios, and finally realizes the development of vehicle-grade L3 products and high-speed open L4 scenarios. Based on this, in 2020, I Mobility has formed three independent commercial operation divisions: unmanned special vehicle division, low-speed unmanned vehicle division, and intelligent transportation division, in order to achieve the transition from low-speed closed scenarios to high-speed open scenarios. Multi-scenario coverage forms a strategic development layout where technological breakthroughs and commercialization go hand in hand.

From building an unmanned brain, to forming a robotaxi fleet, to empowering all-scenario unmanned products, iWalker Technology has comprehensively thought about the field of unmanned driving. To develop a future-oriented smart car, Zhi Mo can provide the “brain” for Xiaomi cars. Coincidentally, at today’s Mi Fan Festival, a reporter found that the driverless product of I-Mobile was driving in the Xiaomi Technology Park, which further coincided with the speculation that the two companies were closely cooperating to build cars.

In addition, Xiaomi also has a layout on hardware such as smart driving car sensors. Shunwei Capital has successively invested in Beixing Photonics, which realizes mass production of solid-state lidars, Kay Rucker, a senior navigation service provider, and BYD semiconductor, which guarantees the supply of automotive chips, paving the way for car manufacturing.

At present, Xiaomi, which has a sufficient capital chain, has an in-depth understanding of consumers. At the same time, the blessing of patented technology, as well as the accumulation of investment and cooperation in the automotive field over the years, make Xiaomi’s car manufacturing worth looking forward to.