In July this year, Great Wall Motors (GWM) launched ambitious GTO (GreatWall Totally Online) global wisdom ecological strategy, the most striking thing is that the eight Chinese major operators including the three major communication operators, BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) and Huawei gathered in the GTO strategic map of Great Wall Motors. This is also the preparation of Great Wall Motors for creating a “travel robot”. After a lapse of two months, at the 2019 China International Digital Economy Expo (hereinafter referred to as the “2019 Economic Expo”), Great Wall Motors launched an L4-level autopilot test experience and used 5G technology to achieve remote “remote control” operation to the outside world, demonstrate its vision for the future of autonomous driving.
GWM’s autopilot technology development began in 2009, L3 autopilot debuted in 2015. In 2017, the “i-Pilot Wisdom Pilot” autopilot system was released, this system officially laid the foundation for the automatic driving of GWM and became the basic framework for future development.
i-Pilot is an open, intelligent driving platform that combines software and hardware, covering everything from highways to urban roads to advanced unmanned driving. GWM has mastered core areas such as data fusion, intelligent decision-making, execution control, and HMI (Human Machine Interaction), and integrates industry resources to complement the parts that are not good at it. Many companies including China Mobile, Huawei, Datang Telecom, Qualcomm, Bright Road Intelligence and Baidu have been pulled into the cooperation camp of Great Wall Motor. These partners cover almost all of the basic technologies necessary for autonomous driving such as 5G, V2X, chips, laser radar and high-precision maps.
According to the autopilot strategic plan released by Great Wall Motors before, the i-Pilot autopilot system will be extended from 1.0 to 4.0: i-Pilot 1.0 will be launched in 2020, to be positioned in L3; i-Pilot 2.0 will be launched in 2021, which belongs to L3 as well; i-Pilot 3.0 to be launched in 2023, reaching the L4 level; i-Pilot 4.0 to launch in 2025, which is a premium driverless system.
We learned from Great Wall Motors that i-Pilot is mainly developed for L3 and above autopilot technology, and L2 level ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance) does not land through the system. In addition, although i-Pilot 1.0 and 2.0 are both oriented to L3, the latter will add more features. Taking into account the cost factor, the L3-class self-driving production car launched next year will be featured on GWM’s high-end models.
In the outfield of the 2019 Economic Expo, Great Wall Motors opened the L4 self-driving car test experience to the public to showcase the future of self-driving cars. The whole experience includes five simulation scenarios: the city blocks right angle turns; continuous S-shaped detours; narrow gantry; traffic light intersection; front congestion.
5G remote unmanned driving as the future technology reserve
Another innovation of GWM’s autopilot technology is “5G Remote Unmanned Driving”, a technology that combines 5G car networking with autonomous driving to develop remote unmanned applications. At present, GWM’s 5G remote unmanned vehicle can drive at a speed of 30km/h 20km away, and the delay can be controlled to about 5ms.
Great Wall Motors is currently testing mainly in the demonstration area without conducting public road testing. In addition, for specific test mileage, Great Wall Motors said it is inconvenient to disclose. Automated vehicles must go through large-scale tests to get on the road, especially on the open road. Now that the plan to mass-produce L3 in 2020 has been set, the autopilot test license may be a shortcoming that Great Wall Motors needs to make up in time.