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  7. Will become China's Denso?...

[YesAuto Technology] Speaking of BYD, this is an automobile company that allows people to think about many issues. Wang Chuanfu’s paranoia on technology has created BYD’s advanced development advantages in the field of new energy and has a relatively complete parts supply system. It has improved BYD’s voice in the automotive industry. Among the many business units, the fifteenth business unit has the most dazzling aura. In the future, this department based on automotive electronics research and development may become China’s Denso (DENSO, the world). The second largest supplier of auto parts in China)!

Why compare Denso with BYD’s 15th Division? In fact, this supplier ranked No. 2 in the world (2014 data, Bosch occupied the top spot in the world) was a research and development department of Toyota as early as 60 years ago. At that time, the company was named NIPPONDENSO after it became independent from Toyota. In 1996, it was officially renamed DENSO, which is the “Denso” that we often talk about.

Since it is the meat that fell from Toyota, it is naturally inseparable from the nurturing of the “parent company”. In the entire development process, Toyota is the most important customer of Denso, and Denso's R&D strength has also contributed to Toyota. A big contribution. Now, not only Toyota, but also parts produced by Denso can be found in every car in the world, ranging from small sensors to air-conditioning compressors. With the development of new energy vehicles, Denso is The R&D advantages of electrification technology will be more prominent.

Looking at it this way, can you see the shadow of Denso from BYD's 15th Division? Of course, if you really want to develop in this direction, it will be a long process, exporting excess R&D capabilities to the outside. This development method has been experienced, whether it is Toyota or Mercedes-Benz, but it is passing through. After the initial stage of brand development, those technologies and parts production that can be solved by suppliers began to gradually divest auto companies, and auto manufacturers began to enter the stage of enhancing product value through brand building.

Why do you need to do basic research and development yourself?

The Fifteenth Division is just a microcosm of the entire supply system. This division is responsible for the fields of body control, vehicle networking, air conditioning and multimedia systems. Under normal circumstances, automakers will hand over this part of the R&D and production to suppliers that match them. In this way, they can not only reduce their own R&D and production burdens, but also the R&D cycle is easier to control. On the contrary, they do basic R&D by themselves. The cost investment is greater, and it also needs to establish a more diversified technical team.

In fact, once such a system is established, its benefits are self-evident. For example, product quality control is more direct, development direction adjustment is more flexible, and cost control is easier. In addition, it can also conversely restrict some Supplier’s monopoly position.

Let me talk about the constraints on suppliers first. Some technologies are indeed in the hands of world-class suppliers. Not only Chinese brand manufacturers, but also international manufacturers can hardly get rid of such a situation. However, BYD has virtually improved its voice in front of those suppliers through its own R&D capabilities. .

◆ BYD has successfully developed ABS

In 2008, BYD produced the ABS brake anti-lock system (hereinafter referred to as ABS). Prior to this, the ABS assembled by BYD F3 was provided by Bosch, and the supply price was 2,000 yuan per set. Bosch learned that BYD has the ability to develop ABS. In order to “prevent” BYD from pushing the ABS system into mass production, Bosch adjusted the supply price to 800 yuan. This cost was much lower than BYD’s development cost at the time. Therefore, Wang Chuanfu ordered a stop. After the ABS project, the project team was disbanded and its members were assigned to other project teams.

Just imagine, if BYD succeeded in pushing ABS into mass production at that time, what kind of effect would it have?

On the one hand, BYD’s models began to be equipped with ABS produced by the 15th Division, and with the reserves of technical research and development capabilities, the performance of ABS will gradually improve. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before the ESC vehicle electronic stability system is derived. As far as BYD is concerned, it has completely got rid of the “domination” of suppliers such as Bosch and Continental.

On the other hand, after BYD has the ability to develop and produce braking systems, it will also pose a threat to the two major suppliers of Bosch and mainland China. Once it meets its own supply needs, from an operational perspective, this business will definitely expand outwards, using cost advantages to scrape the markets of Bosch and mainland companies.

From this point of view, the low-price strategy adopted by Bosch not only stifled BYD's development in the braking field, but also stifled the development of the entire Chinese automobile industry in the ABS and ESC fields.

In any case, first-tier suppliers like Bosch will have more bargaining chips in the process of gaming with OEMs. From the perspective of cost saving and R&D resource consumption, this is a win-win situation. However, there are many similar things. In this way, BYD can lower the supply prices of many suppliers, which is the value of each business unit.

Electric compressor stumps international first-line suppliers

In 2010, Daimler and BYD jointly launched the Tengshi brand, and the two sides jointly developed electric vehicles. What BYD attracted to Daimler was undoubtedly its new energy research and development technology and powerful vehicle parts development system, and BYD hopes Learning from Daimler's vehicle development process system is precisely what BYD lacks.

We will not repeat the specific development process here, but tell a story of development details. This story originated from Wang Chuanfu's technical paranoia. In the early stage of DENZA development, Wang Chuanfu set the high voltage of the electric system at 460V, while the international general standard is 320V. Why not keep pace with international standards? The reason is that Wang Chuanfu believes that higher voltage has less power transmission loss, which is similar to the concept of high-voltage power transmission. For electric vehicles, while the power transmission efficiency is improved, the wiring harness can be made thinner, which is also helpful for the lightweight of the vehicle.

The inconsistency with international standards makes Mercedes-Benz, a large manufacturer accustomed to global procurement strategies, a little uncomfortable, but it did not cause too much trouble to BYD. The entire electric system is developed by BYD unilaterally. Therefore, the development of the underlying system satisfies 460V. The voltage components are not difficult.

Nevertheless, components such as electric compressors that were initially planned to adopt global procurement methods may face the problem of incompatibility of systems. When entering the procurement time node, the Tengshi team found that there are dozens of companies in the world, such as Denso and Delphi. Suppliers with years of development experience only have the ability to develop electric compressors of 320V international standards, and the development requirements of 460V proposed by the Tenshi team cannot be implemented, or at least 3 years of development time will be required.

At this point, the German personnel showed their distrust of the BYD team, especially the 15th division. Seeing that the entire project could not be advanced due to technical problems with the electric compressor, it might even be overthrown and restarted. Under tremendous pressure, the Fifteenth Division undertook the R&D task of 460V electric compressors.

Three months later, the electric compressor project team came up with a finished solution. By six months, the electric compressor could enter the mass production stage, which really made the German personnel feel incredible. The reason why such a miracle can be created lies in the flexibility of R&D investment, which is not available to other automakers and suppliers. From another perspective, a mature R&D system has strict time constraints, and each project has its own development cycle. Therefore, in a short period of time, suppliers who seem to have strong R&D capabilities will be unable to respond to sudden demand. Up.

The electric compressor incident demonstrated the technical research and development capabilities of the 15th Division. On the other hand, we can also feel the “arbitrariness” of Wang Chuanfu’s technological leadership within BYD. It is precisely because of this that the entire company will unswervingly take a path that belongs to BYD, that is, the new energy development direction established from the beginning of the company's establishment, and the establishment of a huge technology research and development team.

Of course, this also has drawbacks for an automobile manufacturer. Wang Chuanfu’s “arbitrary” and flexible development team support has made BYD lack solidified power in the manufacturing system, or lack of communication with the market and users. Indeed, for user needs From the perspective of BYD’s existing products, it seems that there is still room for improvement.

It is like a shift lever that can change color. In fact, this is the little sentiment of BYD engineers. They hope to communicate with users in this way, so that users can perceive the changes of gearbox gears, and try to break the coldness that technology gives people. It feels, but obviously, the design of the color-changing shift lever is not mainstream.

BYD's knowledge in electronic technology is indeed unsurpassed among Chinese brand manufacturers, but technology is to serve people. For a product, user experience is an important verification standard that reflects the value of technology. The design of the full LCD instrument interface can illustrate this problem.

Now, everyone is extremely cautious about the design of the interactive interface. The final plan is gradually formed after multiple market research and user experience. But in Wang Chuanfu’s view, he prefers to show as much as possible in the dashboard. The interface style of parameter information, obviously, ordinary users only need to understand the conventional parameter items. Of course, it does not rule out the existence of technical streams like Wang Chuanfu among users. Fortunately, the full LCD instrument panel can provide different modes of switching.

Unsolved technical problems

Fatigue monitoring technology

Of course, the Fifteenth Division is not a panacea. At this stage, they still have some technical problems that have not been solved for many years of research and development. For example, we talked about a lot of fatigue monitoring systems. This system judges driving by identifying the characteristics of eye movements. Whether the driver is in a state of fatigue, but in the actual test process, engineers found that sunlight, whether the driver wears glasses, and even the size of the driver’s glasses will interfere with the monitoring. These technical problems have been overcome in Volvo’s Safety Technology Center.

Internet of Vehicles

The Internet of Vehicles is also a technical field with a relatively high degree of attention. The Internet of Vehicles mentioned here refers to Car to X, which is the interconnection between cars. BYD is currently in a wait-and-see attitude towards the development of this field. The main reason for this is that Considering that industry standardization has not yet been perfected, there will be great risks if BYD rashly develops a communication protocol standard. Therefore, it is still necessary to wait for national-level institutions to advance this matter.

Voice recognition technology

BYD’s application of speech recognition technology mainly relies on a company called Nuance, which is the world’s largest speech recognition and image processing company. In early 2015, it was also reported that Baidu would acquire this company, combined with Baidu’s CarLife strategy. , I must have taken a fancy to this company's accomplishments in the field of speech recognition.

However, for the domestic market, Nuance may not be BYD's most ideal partner, because in Chinese recognition, especially dialect recognition, Nuance's “Han Kao” scores have no advantage over some local Chinese speech recognition technology companies. . In fact, BYD has also come into contact with a better domestic speech recognition technology company like HKUST Xunfei. The reason for choosing Nuance in the end is because of the difference in experience when approaching the two suppliers. The brand is too cold.

The current speech recognition technology is based on the traditional speech database, combined with the use of recognition engine technology, for such a closed system, the number of stored voice instructions becomes the key, because regardless of the comparison technology and the system's computing power Powerful. If the system itself does not store relevant entries, it will not produce recognition results. Generally, the storage capacity of 20,000 to 30,000 entries combined with our country's many dialects, the problem will be more prominent.

From this point of view, breaking the storage limit of entries is the development direction of future speech recognition technology. Cloud recognition seems to be a reasonable way to use the conditions of massive storage of servers. Not only that, but the real-time update of cloud technology can also Continuously realize the self-improvement of the system. In this way, it is enough for the speech recognition technology company to devote the main energy to the improvement of system computing speed.

Edit summary:

In the article, it was mentioned that BYD’s flexibility in the R&D and production process made it lack the power to solidify the system and process in the vehicle manufacturing process. Just like before Tang entered mass production, some details of the interior are still in accordance with Wang Chuanfu’s It means to adjust and modify, which is impossible for most car manufacturers, because it involves negotiating with suppliers for mold modification, taking responsibility for the initial cost investment, etc., because in a mature development system Every time node in the game is subject to very strict constraints. Such things are indeed commonplace for BYD. In any case, it is very important for an automobile manufacturer to have a complete system. This is also the pros and cons of BYD's own integration.

Now that the R&D strength of Chinese brand manufacturers is getting stronger and stronger, the question of how to transform technology into value is already at hand. It is directly related to brand value. This is a very realistic problem. With new technology, the cost of the entire vehicle will be reduced. Being promoted, whether your user community is willing to pay for it, there is no way, the market is like this. From this point of view, brand building is one of the foundations for leading Chinese brand manufacturers to move forward on the road of technology research and development. As for BYD, the technology has already reacted with this brand. When one day, when an important R&D department like the 15th Division announces that it will leave the company and serve the entire industry, it may mean BYD. A transformation has been completed. (Photo / Li Boxu, the home of the car)