(Yicai Global) Jan. 11 -- "Attending the Consumer Electronics Show is rewarding for us every time, and the show has inspired our business expansion from our initial map service to assisted driving, autonomous driving and chips," Chinese smart car technology developer NavInfo's chief executive Cheng Peng said in interview with Yicai Global at the CES.
The four-day exhibition in Las Vegas in the western US state of Nevada wraps up today.
The Beijing-based company started participating in the event from 2004 "to feel the latest technology, see what others are doing, and show others what we are doing," Cheng told Yicai Global. "Chinese companies can't work behind closed doors," he added.
NavInfo, the first Chinese tech firm to provide electronic navigation map services, secured the first e-navigation map service license from the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping in 2001.
The Beijing-based company has gradually embarked on new businesses such as Internet of Vehicles and autonomous driving with the development of internet, mobile internet and artificial intelligence technologies.
The CES implicates many strategies, Cheng told Yicai Global, adding NavInfo benefits from the idea exchange with partners at the show. "We discuss products with customers one-on-one in the showroom; these include location services, intelligent networking, autonomous driving, new chips and other areas."
AI Extends Its Tendrils
One growing trend in AI is that the technology increasingly applies to various sectors, as in autonomous driving in the auto industry, virtual reality in consumer electronics and robots in industrial control.
"The automotive sector will definitely move toward intelligence later, linking up with the fifth-generation mobile communications network, and people, cars and roads will change in future," Cheng said. "Folks no longer see the car merely as a means of transport: the vehicle will become a mobile space and living scene, growing increasingly smart, with the capability to provide ever more services to the driver," he noted.
"Roads will also change in future. The 5G network will offer an ever-better road experience, just like being at home," he said.
Cheng does not fret about improving pavement infrastructure. Push from leading technology and mass-production companies is necessary to enhance this, he said, adding it will only catch up when smart cars actually run.
The difference between NavInfo and the internet giants lies in their ecology, Cheng replied on the question of what the firm's competitive advantages are in smart driving as an established electronic map provider, compared with the internet giants and emerging carmakers.
Internet companies have other main lines, i.e. Tencent Holding's social media, Alibaba Group Holding's e-commerce platforms and Baidu's search engine, while NavInfo's main business is to provide services to the auto sector as a whole, but it also does so to auto makers.
Editor: Ben Armour