The ADAS revenue of foreign Tier 1 suppliers declines amid the pandemic
The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to the declining demand for automobiles and the temporary suspension of production in the automobile industry. In this case, the overall revenue of most Tier1 suppliers has fallen sharply as they have difficulties in business development.
For example, more than 40% of Continental’s 249 production bases around the world decided in April 2020 to temporarily suspend production for several days or several weeks in order to protect employees and respond to lower demand.
Tier 1 suppliers actively promote the mass implementation of L2 autonomous driving, and L3 autonomous driving enters the market
While Tier 1 suppliers’ normal production is hindered, the technology of L2/L3 autonomous driving is advancing in an orderly manner.
From January to November 2020, 57 domestic auto brands launched 208 L2 models, and sold 2.60 million vehicles with a year-on-year upsurge of 118.9% thanks to the efforts of Tier 1 suppliers. For example, Bosch helped 40 local models achieve L2 autonomous driving in 2019, and focused on the implementation of L2+ autonomous driving in 2020.
Benefiting from the effective control over the domestic epidemic, Chinese Tier1 suppliers have constantly launched new products. Among them, Huawei and Baidu have attracted the most attention from the market. Huawei has successively unveiled perception layer products such as radar and LiDAR, as well as decision layer products like intelligent driving computing platform MDC and intelligent driving operating system AOS.
Baidu APOLLO has released the autonomous driving computing platform ACU (1.0/2.0/3.0) and the L2 intelligent driving solution ANP, and also has successively landed in Changsha, Cangzhou, and Beijing with Robotaxi which is fully open to the society for operation.
With the introduction of HD maps, Tier 1 suppliers have assisted OEMs to head towards L3 autonomous driving. Xpeng P7, GAC Aion LX and other models with L3 autonomous driving have debuted successively.
Foreign Tier 1 suppliers dabble in middleware, while domestic Tier 1 suppliers are deeply tied up with OEMs
From the perspective of autonomous driving products and scenarios, Bosch, Continental and ZF have the most comprehensive layout among foreign Tier1 suppliers. Both Bosch and ZF launched middleware designed for autonomous driving in 2020. As for the domestic Tier 1 suppliers, Huawei and Desay SV take the lead in the perception layout; however, all the domestic Tier1 suppliers are absent in the field of actuation.
In July 2020, Bosch launched Iceoryx, a middleware for advanced autonomous driving, compatible with ROS2 and Adaptive AutoSAR interfaces to meet the requirements of different development periods (pre-ROS, mass production of Autosar)
In December 2020, ZF released ZF Middleware, providing a modular solution that can be integrated into automakers’ software platforms. At the same time, the middleware will be installed on mass-produced vehicles in 2024.
It is worth noting that foreign Tier 1 suppliers dabble in underlying system R&D and build a bridge between system and software applications while accomplishing functions. Bosch and ZF have successively released middleware products, hoping to centrally configure autonomous driving solutions for OEMs through a comprehensive sensor layout so as to simplify system integration, lower development costs and accelerate product launch.
The domestic Tier 1 suppliers (Huawei, Alibaba and Baidu) have teamed up with OEMs to launch autonomous driving and other technologies by in-depth cooperation or establishment of joint ventures to jointly help automakers build high-end brands or accelerate transformation to electrification, connectivity, intelligence and sharing.
Comparing the development models of Tier 1 suppliers at home and abroad, emerging Tier 1 suppliers represented by Huawei and Mobileye directly penetrate into OEMs, deeply participate in product R&D, and position themselves as Tier 0.5 suppliers.
For example, at the beginning of BAIC ARCFOX R&D, Huawei directly took part in R&D of many system functions of the vehicle, including smart driving, smart cockpit and smart electronics. Similarly, Mobileye acted as a Tier 0.5 supplier amid the cooperation with Geely Lynk & Co.
Previously, Mobileye only supplied semi-finished components to Tier 1 suppliers, but now it is responsible for the complete solution stack for the first time, including hardware, software, drive strategy and control. Mobileye will also provide a multi-domain controller and provide software OTA updates after the system is deployed.
The emergence of the Tier 0.5 cooperation model will reshape the cooperation pattern of the traditional automobile industry chain.