Australian CAV expertise in the driver(less) seat in China

15 Apr 2019

Chinese companies, universities and governments are looking for opportunities to invest in and partner with Australian organisations in the connected and automated vehicles (CAV) sector.

This was a key takeaway from the recent Austrade Future Transport Mission to China. The mission visited strategic sites in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen where delegates met with and introduced their solutions, services and expertise to key CAV figures in government, industry and research.

‘One of the aims of the visit was to investigate opportunities for investment and collaboration with Chinese organisations – and for us to see what our Chinese counterparts are doing,’ said Rita Excell, Executive Director of the Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative and a delegate on the mission.

‘We had a fantastic response, all our round tables were fully subscribed and we met with senior representatives at major companies in the CAV space including BYD, Baidu and BAIC. We generated serious leads in Shanghai and Shenzhen.’

Other delegates included representatives from Appen, Baraja, Nova Systems, Level 5 Design, the University of Melbourne – AIMES, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. Several delegates are now in discussions with Chinese organisations.

Excell says there was a proactive desire to work with Australian experts and ‘cross-pollinate’ ideas, drawing on Australia’s leading capabilities in CAV. These include artificial intelligence, machine learning, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), system integration, testing and certification.

‘The interest in Australian CAV technologies opens up opportunities for Australia to collaborate with China on R&D and testing,’ says Excell.

‘For example, Chinese companies are very interested in the use of autonomous vehicles in the resources industry, after seeing autonomous trucks at mine sites operated by BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue.

‘Equally, Chinese organisations have also done excellent work inserting CAV technology into buses and heavy goods vehicles, and they were keen to explore how that might work in Australia.’.

‘We anticipate there will be ongoing collaboration, specifically in heavy vehicles, light commercial vehicles and buses.’

The mission highlighted China’s collaborative approach to developing, implementing and testing CAV technology – an approach that is similar to how Australia works.

‘Bringing CAV technologies into use requires the whole supply chain to work together: companies to provide the vehicles, universities and research institutes to create the robotics and artificial intelligence, and government to develop the policy,’ said Excell.

Australian delegates received a firsthand look at the structured way in which the Chinese Government is introducing CAV technology onto roads, including large-scale, dedicated test sites where staged assessments take place.

‘China’s future transport sector is one of the fastest growing and dynamic globally, in no small part due to high levels of investment in R&D and supportive government policy,’ said Matthew Brent, Austrade’s Trade Commissioner in Beijing.

‘Australia’s CAV expertise and technologies can play a major role in helping China meet its aim of introducing on-demand travel, the widespread use of autonomous vehicles and integrated rail roads by 2045.’

Read about the future transport market in China and contact Austrade for more information on CAV opportunities in the country.