Over the last few decades, China’s rapid economic growth has fostered an unprecedented mobility transformation. With GDP increases averaging 9.5% per year through 2018, the number of privately owned vehicles shot up from 6 million in 2000 to 205 million in 2018.
The extraordinary growth has also brought challenges. According to the National Bureau of Statistics in China, there were nearly 245,000 accidents in 2018, resulting in more than 63,000 fatalities and direct property losses of 1.4 billion yuan (US$194 million). Meanwhile, rising vehicle emissions have contributed to air pollution, and although the government has made great progress to reduce that pollution in recent years, it remains a major social concern.
The latest vehicle technologies can address both of these issues, and Chinese consumers appear ready to adopt them. Advanced driver assistance systems have proven their ability to save lives, and a 2018 survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that Chinese consumers are nearly twice as trusting of automated driving technology as their U.S. and German counterparts. Indeed, a KPMG survey that same year showed that more than half (53%) of China respondents are very interested in new technology and will be the first ones to buy a new device when it comes out, ahead of the 29% global average.
It should be no surprise then that vehicle manufactures are rapidly deploying advanced safety offerings in China. At Aptiv, we’re committed to democratizing active safety through scalable and affordable solutions. This is why we were honored that our unique Satellite Architecture approach was selected by SAIC-GM for its Buick GL8 Avenir, which launched in China April 12 this year. SAIC-GM is among seven OEMs that have selected Aptiv’s Satellite Architecture, three of which will launch in 2020.
Aptiv’s Satellite Architecture approach allows OEMs to provide a full range of ADAS features, from autonomous emergency braking (AEB) to advanced traffic-jam and highway assist features, in a cost-effective way. By centralizing the intelligence of the system in a powerful ADAS domain controller, it reduces the incremental cost of the sensors and enables multiple sensor configurations with minimum change.
Meanwhile, China continues to combat vehicle emissions, recently extending subsidies and tax breaks for buying electric vehicles. And major OEMs such as Volkswagen see the opportunity, increasing their investment in development of electric vehicles for that market. Aptiv’s extensive high-voltage electrification portfolio can support these efforts through a wide range of solutions that enable manufacturing of EVs on a global scale. For example, Aptiv supported the GAC Aion S with both high- and low-voltage electrical distribution on GAC’s first “new energy vehicle” (NEV), which has become one of the top five NEVs sold in China.
All of these innovations are enabled thanks to Aptiv’s core capabilities with power, data, compute and software, which means that not only can we support the centralization of software into powerful domain controllers, but we can also facilitate secure over-the-air (OTA) updates of that software throughout the lifetime of the vehicle. This allows OEMs to deliver improved safety and efficiency to consumers after the sale of the car, just like consumers are used to receiving with phones and computers.
With their willingness to embrace new technologies that will improve their lives, consumers in China are looking to these technologies to make their vehicles safer, greener and more connected.