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拜腾联手Arora,争夺无人驾驶技术市场

Kissten Korosec 2018年02月12日

此次与拜腾的合作,也标志着Aurora已经从一家名不见经传的初创公司成长为无人驾驶技术商业化领域的重要竞争者。

在今年的CES消费电子展上,来自中国的电动汽车公司拜腾展示了一款科技含量颇高的全电动SUV概念车。目前该公司正在积极寻求外部技术,将先进的自动驾驶汽车融入他们的车型中。

拜腾公司上周一宣布,该公司已与无人驾驶技术初创公司Aurora展开合作。这家创业公司汇聚了无人驾驶领域的不少顶尖人才,他们将努力把L4级别的无人驾驶技术移植到拜腾公司的产品上。据称,两家公司将于“未来两年”内,将Aurora的L4无人驾驶系统在拜腾的车辆上进行试运行。Aurora公司CEO克里斯·厄姆森表示,相关试验将在美国加州开展。在谷歌无人驾驶项目剥离成独立的Waymo公司前,厄姆森曾任谷歌的无人驾驶项目负责人。

按照美国国际汽车工程师学会的划分,L4级别的无人驾驶技术是指在某些特定条件下,汽车已可自行接管全部驾驶功能。到了再上一级的L5级别,汽车便可在任意环境下实现完全的自动驾驶。

与此同时,两家公司还将“探索”在拜腾的系列量产车型上使用Aurora的无人驾驶技术,不过相关车型预计最早也得到2019年年末才能实现量产。

对于刚刚成立才一年多的Aurora来说,拜腾已经是它的第三个合作伙伴了。Aurora主要与汽车厂商合作,设计开发一系列传感器、软件和数据服务,也就是提供无人驾驶汽车所需的“全套服务”。几个月前,该公司已经与大众公司展开合作,为大众的最新电动车品牌Moia提供无人驾驶系统。大众集团计划从2021年开始,在两到五个城市投放商用无人驾驶汽车车队,首选的两个城市就是德国汉堡和美国硅谷。

Aurora和韩国现代公司也有合作。

此次与拜腾的合作,也标志着Aurora已经从一家名不见经传的初创公司成长为无人驾驶技术商业化领域的重要竞争者。这次合作也让更多人知道了拜腾。不过拜腾的雄心壮志要想变成消费者买得到、开得了的产品,它依然还有很长的路要走,同时它也需要融到大量的资金。

目前,拜腾已经通过外部投资者获得了3.2亿美元融资,外部融资主要用于在南京建厂。拜腾的前身是在香港注册的Future Mobility公司,该公司计划今年通过B轮融资获得更多资金。该公司的南京工厂从2017年9月启动建设,预计今年第三季度建成,从2019年初开始进行试产。

拜腾计划于2019年推动产品在中国上市,2020年在美国和欧洲上市。

拜腾是由宝马i8项目的前负责人毕福康(Carsten Breitfeld)和另一名宝马公司前高管、英菲尼迪中国前常务董事戴雷(Daniel Kirchert)共同创办的。直到最近以前,关于这家公司的其他信息都所知不多。

今年一月,毕福康携手戴雷发布了一款号称是“SIV”(意为智能直观轿车)的跨界SUV车型。这款概念车具有相当高的科技含量。两位创始人表示,量产车与概念车的相似度将达到80%。车子的仪表盘被一整块显示屏代替,方向盘正中也安装了一块显示屏,将来消费者可以利用手势或是语音控制车子的各方面的控能。据悉,其语音控制技术将主要基于亚马逊的Alexa助手功能。这款车型甚至能监测驾驶员的心率、体重、血氧浓度和血压等身体指标。

拜腾公司称,这款SUV将搭载L3级别的无人驾驶功能。根据SAE的划分,L3是指有条件的自动驾驶。也就是说,在条件许可时,车辆本身可承担大多数驾驶任务,但在必要时仍需要驾驶员进行干预。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎 

Byton, the new China-based company that unveiled a tech-centric all-electric SUV concept at the big tech trade show CES in January, is now tapping some outside experts to bring self-driving car technology into their future vehicles.

Byton announced Monday that it has partnered with self-driving vehicle technology startup Aurora. The buzzy startup, led some of the best minds in self-driving cars, will work on bringing Level 4 autonomous vehicle capabilities into Byton vehicles. The two companies will conduct a pilot deployment of Aurora’s L4 autonomous driving systems on Byton vehicles in the “next two years.” The pilot will be in California, Aurora CEO Chris Urmson said. Urmson previously led the Google self-driving project before it spun out to become Waymo, a business under parent Alphabet.

Level 4 is a designation by SAE International that means the car takes over all of the driving in certain conditions. In Level 5 autonomy, a vehicle is driverless in any and all circumstances and environments.

The two companies will also “explore” using Aurora’s self-driving system in Byton’s series production vehicles, which aren’t expected to be in mass production until the end of 2019 (at the earliest).

The announcement is the third partnership for Aurora, which launched a little more than a year ago. Aurora works with automakers to design and develop a package of sensors, software, and data services—the “full stack,” in industry lingo—needed to deploy fully autonomous vehicles. The company has been working with Volkswagen for months on integrating its self-driving system into custom-designed electric shuttles for VW’s new Moia brand. Volkswagen aims to launch commercial fleets of self-driving electric vehicles in two to five cities beginning in 2021, beginning with Hamburg and Silicon Valley.

Aurora is also working with Hyundai.

The partnership shows Aurora’s progression from secretive startup to player in the race to commercialize self-driving vehicles. And it reveals more about Byton. However, the China-based startup still has a long way—and lots of money left to raise—before its ambitions become actual products that customers can buy and drive, or be driven by, around.

The company has raised $320 million from outside investors. Additional sources of funding from lenders will be used to help build the factory in Nanjing. Byton, formerly Future Mobility Corporation, plans to raise additional capital from investors in a Series B round this year. Construction on the factory began in September 2017 and the building is expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year. Trial production will begin in early 2019.

Sales are set to begin in China in 2019, and sales in the United States and Europe to start in 2020.

Byton was founded by Carsten Breitfeld, the former head of the BMW i8 program, and Daniel Kirchert, the former managing director of Infiniti China and a longtime BMW executive. Not a lot was known about the company until recently.

In January, Breitfeld and Kirchert revealed the medium-ish SUV crossover that they call an SIV, or “smart intuitive vehicle.” The concept vehicle, which the founders say represents about 80% of what the production vehicle will look like, is loaded with technology. There’s a sweeping display that takes up the entire dashboard, another touchscreen on the steering wheel, “smart” connected features that will let future customers use hand gestures, and voice commands via Amazon’s Alexa assistant to control aspects of the car. The vehicle will even monitor the driver’s heart rate, weight, oxygen saturation, or blood pressure.

The SUV will come with Level 3 autonomous capabilities, Byton says. This designation, determined by SAE International, is what’s described as conditional automation. This means that the car can handle most aspects of driving in the right conditions with the expectation that the human driver will respond when asked to intervene.

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