Robert Bosch Venture Capital has announced investment in AutoAI. The company is the developer and operator of intelligent connected vehicle service (CVS) for the new generation of autonomous vehicles. It is established as a separately run subsidiary of Navinfo and is involved in technological development, product development and service operations of intelligent navigation, CVS content, intelligent OS and solutions, CVS big data and operations. Based on the core mission of "Making Auto Intelligence Easier", the company has set up bases for front-end R&D and operations with a total of nearly 1,000 employees in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Dalian and Shenyang. AUTOAI works jointly with automobile manufacturers, industry customers and ecosystem partners in the development of the next generation of autonomous driving, bring further cutting-edge technologies, leading products, ultimate experience and compassionate service to more partners, and aim to become an innovator and leader in the intelligent CVS industry.
Their company, located in a city near their parents' village in Henan province, provides an essential early service in the AI process, labeling images and videos to help make computers smarter. Before a self-driving car can learn to avoid hitting people or trees, it must learn what people and trees look like -- by digesting thousands of images labeled by thousands of humans. Demand for labeling is exploding in China as large tech companies, banks and others attempt to use AI to improve their products and services. Many of these companies are clustered in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but the lower-tech labeling business is spreading some of the new-tech money out to smaller towns, providing jobs beyond agriculture and manufacturing. The science is mired in controversy in China, where the ruling Communist Party is using AI to help it identify and track people in mass-surveillance programs, most prominently in the largely Muslim province of Xinjiang, according to Human Rights Watch.
Baidu has started mass-producing its Level 4 autonomous mini-buses with the intention of deploying them not just in China, but also in other countries. The Chinese tech giant has teamed up with Softbank subsidiary SB Drive to launch a self-driving mini-bus service in Japan next year. They're bringing 10 "Apolong" buses to Tokyo and other Japanese cities in early 2019 after the vehicles make their debut in select Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shenzhen, Pingtan and Wuhan. The 14-seater buses will initially pick up passengers in tourist areas, parks, industrial campuses, airports and other geo-fenced locations. Baidu has also announced during its annual AI developer conference that it has already manufactured 100 Apolong vehicles with help from Chinese bus manufacturer King Long.
SHANGHAI--A Chinese man whose son was killed while driving a Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA -0.82 % vehicle applied to a local Beijing court to investigate whether the car's Autopilot driving system was engaged. In January, 23-year-old Gao Yaning died in a crash in the northeastern province of Hebei while driving a Tesla Model S. Six months later his father, Gao Jubin, filed a lawsuit accusing Tesla of exaggerating Autopilot's capabilities. At a court hearing Tuesday, he asked for an independent investigation of the cause of the crash. "The family insists the investigation should be done by a third party, rather than Tesla," said Cui Qiuna, a lawyer for the Gao family. The court will study the family's request.
Google's parent company Alphabet is continuing its push for a presence in China with a new Waymo subsidiary, based in Shanghai. Waymo – one of the world's leading autonomous car designers -- has confirmed it has set up a legal entity in the country and has people working there, but hasn't commented on its future plans. The move marks the latest attempt by Alphabet to move into China, where many of its Google services are blocked. But the autonomous vehicle industry is rapidly developing in the country, so it makes sense for Alphabet to get in as early as it can. The cities of Beijing and Guangzhou have recently started approving companies for autonomous vehicle testing on public roads, for example.