BYD releases Xuanji intelligent architecture as Chinese carmakers gear up for global auto intelligence race
Published: Jan 17, 2024 01:16 AM
The photo taken on September 4, 2023 shows the booth of the Chinese car manufacturer BYD at the International Motor Show Germany. Photo: VCG

The photo taken on September 4, 2023 shows the booth of the Chinese car manufacturer BYD at the International Motor Show Germany. Photo: VCG

Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD released its brand-new intelligent architecture, Xuanji, on Tuesday, with observers saying it represents the latest effort of Chinese carmakers to gear up for transformation in the global auto intelligence race, which is seen as key factor in the next round of competition in the high-end vehicle market.

China's auto industry hit a new milestone in 2023, with record production and sales. The country is also expected to dethrone Japan as the world's top vehicle exporter.

Xuanji is a whole-vehicle intelligent structure that is composed of a self-developed smart brain, a dual artificial intelligence (AI) large model both inside the vehicle and in the cloud - also the industry's first AI large model application in whole vehicle - as well as four "chains" including sensor, controller, data and mechanical systems. The architecture could eventually be connected to three networks including internet of vehicles, 5G and satellite network.

The structure enables dynamic adjustments to various hashrate modes in accordance with demand, and thus would allow a seamless switch between different modes and accommodation to future algorithm models.

At the press briefing in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province where BYD is headquartered, the company also unveiled an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system that has been jointly developed with Chinese drone-maker DJI. It supports functions such as taking off and landing with a press of a button, as well as intelligent charging.

BYD said at the press briefing that its accumulation at the electric field has laid a solid foundation for its intelligent drive, which is "the second half court battle in the new energy race."

The company also presented a number of what it claims to be revolutionary intelligent driving techniques during a media tour on Tuesday. For example, in terms of smart parking, it only took 25 seconds for BYD's intelligent driving system to complete parking at a designated space, whereas it took a veteran driver a minimum of 30 seconds to finish the same process.

The Global Times also took a ride in a BYD vehicle using the "Navigate on Autopilot" (NOA) function on Tuesday. During a 45-minute ride, the vehicle deployed multiple autonomous functions in its drive in downtown Shenzhen, such as automatic traffic light identification, automatic steering at road junctions, and autonomous overtaking as well as yielding to pedestrians and two-wheeled vehicles.

A number of other Chinese companies including Huawei, Nio, Xpeng, and Li Auto have released NOA systems tailored for city driving since the beginning of 2023. In the first half of 2023, a total of 209,400 vehicles equipped with NOA were delivered, up 108.98 percent year-on-year, data released by Kaiyuan Securities showed.

It is expected that the number will rise by 141.43 percent to 1.69 million units in 2024, said another report by Western Securities.

BYD received a testing license for level 3 (L3) autonomous driving on high-speed roads in Shenzhen in July 2023. The company said it was the first to be granted such a license in China.

As NEV costs are expected to ease this year due to the mass production effect, building advantages in intelligent systems will help Chinese automakers in the high-end international market, industry observers pointed out.

One industry insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Global Times on Tuesday that while China has a manufacturing edge, there's still a gap between Chinese and foreignfirms in certain intelligent techniques such as autonomous driving technologies, partly because of the foreign firms' first-mover advantage that helped their companies to collect a lot of vehicle data.

"The NOA systems developed by Chinese companies still face a bunch of barriers as the road situation in China is sometimes more complicated than in overseas countries. And Chinese companies arescaling up efforts to accelerate the catch-up process," the insider explained.

China's car output exceeded 30.16 million units in 2023, up 11.6 percent year-on-year, and sales exceeded 30.09 million units, up 12 percent, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Both output and sales set new records, according to the CAAM.