除了全球资本市场进入寒冬期,投资人从一掷千金变得谨小慎微,更重要的原因在于自动驾驶企业普遍面临技术壁垒,加之投入高、回报周期长、商业化难等因素,初创公司的数量并没有出现爆发式增长,而之前经历过大浪淘沙活下来的企业则选择蛰伏着,即便拿到融资也并不急于盲目扩张,有的甚至开始寻求其他产品「副线」,以期曲线救国。

In addition to the cold winter of global capital markets, investors are becoming wary of their fortunes, more importantly because self-driving companies are facing technical barriers, coupled with high investment, long return cycles and commercialisation, where the number of start-ups has not exploded, while those who have survived previous booms have opted to go dormant, even if they are not in a hurry to expand blindly, and some have even begun to seek alternative products to save the curve.

近日,StarskyRobotics宣布将缩减车队规模。这家真正意义上实现了无人驾驶卡车运营试点服务的公司表现一直不乐观,甚至有消息称「为了维持运营,StarskyRobotics正与潜在买家进行谈判,甚至包括一些竞争对手」。

Recently, Starsky Robotics announced it would downsize its fleet. The company, which has truly achieved pilot services for driverless trucking operations, has been underwhelming, with even news that \"Starsky Robotics is in talks with potential buyers, including even some competitors, to stay in business.\"

即便最终StarskyRobitcs被迫「卖身」,也不会让人感到多意外,毕竟连这样曾红极一时,估值高达2亿美金的明星公司,最后也落得被小规模收购、裁员和关门告终。年初还有一家中国的无人车初创公司站上了媒体头条,不是因为取得了骄人的成绩,而是由于创始团队内讧,股权及治理结构不合理等原因濒临倒闭,在资本市场低价待售。

Even if StarskyRobitcs end up being forced to sell itself, it won't come as much as a surprise, after all, that a star company valued at $200 million ended up being bought, laid off and shut down on a small scale. At the beginning of the year, a chinese start-up made headlines, not because of its impressive results, but because of the collapse of its founding team, its unreasonable ownership and governance, and its low prices in capital markets.

这只是开始。随着整个行业对自动驾驶的态度从「盲目追捧」到「回归理性」,未来流向这个新兴产业的资本只会变得更为谨慎。

This is just the beginning. With the industry's attitude to self-driving moving from \"blindly pursuing\" to \"returning to reason \", future capital flows to the emerging industry will only become more cautious.

根据Crunchbase给出的数据显示,今年拿到大额融资的自动驾驶初创公司屈指可数。一方面,投资人的钱在前几年的膨胀期都花完了,等到真正技术成熟,好公司出现的时候却陷入了「没钱可投」的尴尬境地;另一方面,自动驾驶虽然也属于AI领域的分支,但它在商业化方面没办法像其他产品一样迅速落地,回报周期长、投入高等客观因素造成了如今资本市场的「畏手畏脚」。

According to data from Crunchbase, there are only a handful of self-driving start-ups with big funding this year. On the one hand, investors have spent their money in previous years of expansion, and when the real technology is ripe, good companies are in the embarrassment of having no money to invest in; on the other hand, self-driving, which is also a branch of the AI field, is not able to fall to the ground as quickly as other products in commercialization, with long returns and high investment objective factors that make today's capital markets daunting.

所以,人工智能领域可能提前进入了缺钱与需要钱的对立矛盾中。特别是自动驾驶,商业化的背后需要大量的资金支持,技术竞争甚至已经演变为资本竞争。今年有一个突出的现象是,车企代替风投成了众多初创公司的「金主」。譬如大众入股,成了和福特平起平坐的股东;雷诺日产三菱联盟不仅为Waymo的扩张提供了支持,同时也成了文远知行的A轮投资人。而正是拥有持续融资烧钱的能力,Nuro、Aurora这些公司才避免了和落得同样的下场。

Therefore, the field of artificial intelligence may advance into the contradiction between lack of money and need of money. Especially self-driving, commercialization needs a lot of financial support behind, technology competition has even evolved into capital competition. A prominent phenomenon this year is that car companies have replaced wind as the \"gold owner\" of many start-ups. Volkswagen, for example, has become an equal shareholder with Ford; the Renault-Nissan alliance has not only supported Waymo's expansion, but has also become a round-A investor in the company. It is with the ability to keep financing burning money that companies such as Nuro and Aurora have avoided the same fate.

资本市场缺钱不假,而为了解决融资不够的问题,只能通过赚快钱来凑,有些初创公司甚至与投资人达成一致,走起了「以副业养主业」的路子。而因为变现周期长,资本寒冬中的独角兽同样过得战战兢兢。之前就有消息称,商汤科技今年在营收和项目落地抓得很紧,以致于内部不时出现反对声音,认为「不应该过分看重眼前利益而忽略了对公司长期价值的挖掘。」

Some start-ups have even come to terms with investors to tackle the lack of financing by making quick money. And because of the long liquidity cycle, the capital winter unicorns also live trembling. It has previously been reported that the company has been so tight in revenue and projects this year that there has been a backlash from time to time that "it shouldn't take immediate benefits too seriously and ignore the long-term value of the company.” 」

但现实总归是现实。人工智能的价值在于它对人类生活的颠覆性改变。但技术投资一定会面临落地难,周期长等问题。而在这场竞争异常激烈的自动驾驶突围赛中,过硬的技术实力不可或缺,稳定的资本加持更是非常必要。

But reality is always reality. The value of artificial intelligence lies in its subversive change in human life. But the technology investment will certainly face the landing difficulty, the cycle is long and so on question. But in this competition extremely intense self-driving breakthrough competition, the strong technical strength is indispensable, the stable capital blessing is very necessary.

而如果刨去资本的影响,整个自动驾驶行业2019年发展趋于平稳,小规模的淘汰赛之后,无论是主机厂、供应商还是科技公司,几乎都是在不断探索中前进。

And if the impact of capital is removed, the whole autopilot industry will develop smoothly in 2019, and after the small elimination competition, whether it is the mainframe factory, the supplier or the technology company, it is almost in constant exploration.

由于没办法制定清晰明确的目标,绝大多数车企选择的都是较为稳妥的「两条腿走路」的方式:一、探索robo-taxi的服务运营模式;二、基于量产的思路逐步迭代车辆的自动驾驶能力。这其中虽有一定程度的重合,但总体来说是两个相对独立的方向。

Because there is no way to set clear goals, most car companies choose a more secure \"two-legged walk\" approach: first, to explore the robo-taxi service operation mode; and second, to gradually iteration of the auto-driving capacity based on the idea of mass production. Although there is a degree of overlap, but generally two relatively independent direction.

只不过大部分主机厂在robo-taxi这件事情上缺乏信心,因为实现L2级自动驾驶能力对主机厂而言不是什么太困难的事情,毕竟人始终掌控着驾驶权。但robo-taxi就完全不一样了,安全责任主体将完全从人转移到机器上,所以需要车辆的软硬件系统固若金汤。但目前行业的普遍共识是:全栈式自动驾驶技术非常难实现,目前几乎还没有哪家公司拥有真正匹配的技术实力。

But most mainframe factories lack confidence in the robo-taxi issue, because the realization of l2 autonomous driving capacity is not too difficult for the mainframe factory, after all, people always control the driving power. But robo-taxi is totally different, the main body of security responsibility will be completely transferred from the human to the machine, so the need for vehicle hardware and software system solid. But there is a general consensus that full-stack self-driving technology is very difficult to achieve, and few companies now have the technical power to match.

2019年11月中旬左右,戴姆勒CEO在公开场合表示将对robotaxi业务进行「内部核查」,并承认在未来盈利潜力受到质疑的情况下,让它们变得安全比最初想象的要难得多。同时戴姆勒还将调整在robotaxi以及自动驾驶技术上的支出,未来有可能首先将其应用于货运公司的商业车辆。这一点,大众集团有着同样的共识。

Around mid-november 2019, daimler's ceo said in public that it would conduct \"internal checks\" on the robotaxi business and acknowledged that making them safe was far more difficult than initially thought when future earnings potential was questioned. Daimler will also adjust its spending on robotaxi and self-driving technology, with the potential to first apply it to commercial vehicles at freight companies. There is a similar consensus among the group.

整个行业从最初的蒙眼狂奔,到如今逐步回归理性。裹挟在科技公司、初创企业中的传统车企也在不断摸索着,尝试着找到适合自己的位置。目前来看,2030年之前,完全的自动驾驶要形成一定量的市场还不大可能,在这场注定长期的拉锯战中,主机厂除了要投入大笔资金,还面临着软件人才招募,建立合作伙伴关系,说服消费者买单等等艰巨的任务。

The industry as a whole has gone from its first blinds to its gradual return to rationality. Traditional car companies that hold on to tech companies and start-ups are also groping to find their niche. For now, until 2030, it is unlikely that there will be a certain amount of market for full self-driving, and in this doomed long-term tug-of-war, mainframe factories are faced with such daunting tasks as recruiting software talent, building partnerships, and persuading consumers to pay the bills.

相互抱团可以减小合作方的资金压力,对初创公司而言又能获得巨头OEM的大量客户资源。宝马、Mobileye、Intel已经提供了先例,大众福特ArgoAI紧随其后。这样的联盟形式只会越来越多。

Clinging to each other reduces the financial pressure on partners and gives start-ups access to the huge OEM's large customer resources. BMW, Mobileye, Intel have provided precedents, and Volkswagen Ford Argo AI has followed. Such alliances will only grow in number.

这里的「限定场景」包括了矿区、港口、园区等,遵循既定的商业化落线,覆盖了包括泊车、物流配送、街道清扫等场景。如今年获得了亿美金B轮融资的硅谷创业公司Nuro,业务目标主要是开发配送无人车,解决「最后一公里」的配送问题。除此之外,国内已经有多家自动驾驶公司开始在这个领域跑马圈地,以期获得更多的早鸟红利。比如驭势科技、智行者、西井科技、菜鸟、嬴彻科技、智加科技、图森未来等。

The \"limited scenarios\" here include mining areas, ports, parks, etc., following the established commercial drop line, covering scenes including parking, logistics distribution, street cleaning, etc. For example, Nuro, a Silicon Valley start-up that has received $100 million in B-cycle funding this year, aims to develop and deliver unmanned vehicles to solve the \"last kilometer\" distribution problem. In addition, there are already a number of self-driving companies in the country have started to run in this field, in order to get more early bird dividends. Such as Yu potential technology, smart walker, Xijing technology, rookie, Yingcher technology, Zhijia technology, Tucson future and so on.

相比全场景的无人驾驶,封闭区域下线路单一,对算法要求相对较低,更有利于量产落地。只不过这个领域虽然又成功催生了一批新公司,同时资本也在陆续进入,但问题是,能落地不代表有价值,而有市场需求才能使对应的产品价值得到释放,目前关于限定场景自动驾驶的应用也在探索中,并没有出现绝对性的刚需。

Compared with the whole scene driverless, the closed area under the single line, the algorithm requirements are relatively low, more conducive to mass production landing. But although this field has succeeded in creating a number of new companies, and the capital is also coming in, but the problem is that landing does not mean that there is value, and there is market demand to release the corresponding product value, the current application of self-driving to limit the scene is also in the exploration, there is no absolute rigid demand.

回顾2019年,资本市场的冷静和克制使得整个自动驾驶行业进入缓慢发展的周期,各家似乎都在蛰伏过冬,以期保存精力在合适的机会复出。有一些公司甚至开始被迫在其他产品方向上寻找机会,希望通过「用副业养主业」的方式提升竞争力。对主机厂而言,2020年可能面临着兑现「量产L3级自动驾驶汽车」承诺的压力。但就目前的情势来看,可能这个时间点还会被继续往后延。因为即便技术成熟,对应法律法规的不完善也会影响量产车落地。

Looking back on 2019, the calm and restraint of the capital markets allowed the entire self-driving industry to enter a slow-growing cycle, and each appeared to be dormant for the winter in an attempt to conserve energy to return at the right opportunity. Some companies are even being forced to look for opportunities in other product directions in the hope of boosting their competitiveness through \"a side business \". For the mainframe plant,2020 could face pressure to deliver on its \"mass-produced L3 self-driving car\" promise. But in the light of the current situation, this point may continue to be delayed. Because even if the technology is mature, the corresponding laws and regulations will affect the landing of mass production vehicles.

有一点是确定的:自动驾驶行业已经度过了激情狂热的时期。几乎涉足该领域的公司在持久战中都逐渐变得理性,变得有耐心了。通常大家也都不再盲目追求实现完全的自动驾驶能力,而是稍微退后几步,在服务模式或者商业化能力上进行创新。

One thing is certain: the autopilot industry has gone through a period of passion and fanaticism. Almost all the companies in the field have grown rational and patient in the protracted war. Usually people no longer blindly pursue the ability to achieve full self-driving, but take a few steps back to innovate in service mode or commercialization.

极客公园(ID:Geekpark)认为高级别自动驾驶技术的大规模应用应该是robo-taxi网约车服务。通过ADAS实现阶段性迭代的方向可能要经历一个革命性的过程。目前业界对「全自动驾驶」实现的时间点普遍的共识是,至少要到2030年。

geek park (id: geekpark) believes that the large-scale application of high-level self-driving technology should be the robo-taxi net car service. The direction of phased iteration through ADAS may undergo a revolutionary process. There is now a general consensus on the point at which \"full self-driving\" will be achieved, at least until 2030.


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