City emerges as automobile hub
Cars of the future will communicate with each other over the internet, and Wuxi, a city in East China's Jiangsu province, is set to be at the center of this exciting new "internet of vehicles" industry - at least, that is the idea behind China's first internet of vehicles pilot area approved for the city in May.
The idea to develop Wuxi as a hub for the industry has been in the works for some time.
Back in 2017, it was announced that tech giants China Mobile and Huawei would work together with local authorities to implement the world's first city-level LTE-V2X application project.
From left: Visitors learn about the internet of vehicles technology during the 2018 World Internet of Things Exposition held in Wuxi. Vehicles to demonstrate LTE-V2X technology are pictured at the expo. Photos Provided to China Daily
The project will be implemented at 211 intersections throughout Wuxi's urban area, Taihu Lake New Town, Wuxi's high-speed railway stations, the airport, and five viaducts. It will serve 100,000 vehicles in the city.
V2X - also known as "vehicle-to - everything" - wireless communication technology allows real-time data transfers between a vehicle and any entity that it needs to communicate with.
Wuxi officials have said that the LTE-V2X project is expected to cover the whole city by the end of 2019, and in 2020, Wuxi is expected to become China's first V2X industrial center. Provincial authorities also have plans to promote the industry throughout Jiangsu.
The Wuxi government has been enthusiastic about developing IoV technologies, with a number of tests already having been conducted in the city, said Chen Shanzhi, vice-president of Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group, explaining why Wuxi was chosen as the pilot zone.
In 2017, Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group, in partnership with Huawei, proposed the first internationally recognized standard for LTE-V2X to be approved by The 3rd Generation Partnership Project, a group responsible for defining telecommunications standards.
Hou Xinhai, chief information officer of Ford China, has his own ideas about why Wuxi was chosen to pilot the new technology.
"Wuxi was the first city (in China) to fully prepare for the development of the internet of vehicles, with a focus on cellular vehicle-to-everything technology," he said.
The policies of the local government make it particularly attractive for companies developing IoV technologies and products, he added.
In September 2018, Ford conducted its first C-V2X tests during the World Internet of Things Exposition in Wuxi, representing a major milestone for the company in its efforts to promote the technology.
The tests demonstrated how vehicles can adapt their speed or activate warning lights in dangerous situations by reacting to traffic lights and the behavior of other road users.
"We will be attending this year's World IoT Exposition in Wuxi and will be focusing more on commercialization and user experience with our local partners," said Hou.
In addition to Ford, a number of other reputable automakers including Audi, Volvo and Volkswagen have joined the IoV project in Wuxi to explore the many possibilities brought about by the new vehicle technologies.
And this is no mere experiment, according to Xiong Wei, director of Huawei's wireless internet LTE product department.
V2X is now the fastest-growing industry in the city and the province; it will play a key role in the future of smart transportation, with the aim of improving traffic safety and vehicle efficiency, he said.
"And if IoV technologies are set to improve transport and make it safer, it is clear that the work being done in Wuxi is set to benefit us all," Xiong said.
(China Daily 09/07/2019 page20)